A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns.

There’s no doubt about it: A Thousand Splendid Suns is an amazing book, it’s of an exceptional beauty.  It’s just one of those rare books in wich one can find not one negative aspect.

“A suspenseful epic” Daily Telegraph,

“In case you’re wondering whether A Thousand Splendid Suns is as good as The Kite Runner, here’s the answer: No. It’s better” Washington Post.

Khaled Hosseini is the auther of this breathtaking book.  Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and in that same city the story of  A Thousand Splendid Suns takes place.  His firstnovel  The Kite Runner was a huge success and has even been made into a motion picture, (directed by Marc FosterFinding Neverland and the latest James Bond, Quantum of Solace).  His second novel A Thousand Splendid Suns was published in 2007 and  will also be turned into a movie, coming out in 2011 and with Steven Zaillian, as the latest rumours say , as the director and writer of  the screenplay. (He also wrote the screenplay for Schindler’s list and won an oscar for it.)


The trailer of The Kite Runner

Both Hosseini’s books are a huge success, but why? What is the secret behind his success? And why is A Thousand Splendid  Suns even better than The Kite Runner? Hosseini himself doesn’t understand, but to find out I did some research.

First of all, the most obvious reason; Khaled Hosseini is a very good writer, he’s a flawless storryteller. Once started, one won’t be able to stop reading, but still, I think there’s more behind his success ….

Until  now almost everything we’ve heard or read about Afghanistan has been negative. Most of the time Afghanistan is associated with 9/11 , Al-Qaeda, suicide terrorists, the War on Terrorism and so on, but what do we really know about this country? Some may have seen, like me, the 007-movie The Living Daylights, but there it ends.
How much did we know about Afghanistan before The Twin Towers and the War on Terror? There probably a few persons that are able to tell that Afghanistan used to be ruled by the Taliban, but that’s it. Still everybody seems to have an opinion about Aghanistan. With A Thousand Splendid Suns Hosseini explains the situation in Afghanistan before 9/11 and I thought it was  interesting to see Afghanistan for once in a different light.  So maybe  his success can also be interpreted as an existence of a need to learn more about Aghanistan. That there’re people who want to know more about it.
With A thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini gives us a different point of view of Afghanistan. He shows us how it was to live there in a time of severe distress.

Another reason A Thousand Splendid Suns is such a good book, is that Hosseini has the ability to keep everything clear.  A Thousand Splendid Suns doesn’t only tell the story of Laila and Mariam, it also tells the story of Aghanistan. Aghanistan has seen so many wars, has such a complicated history and throughout the whole story one reads so many names that, unlike I had expected, it isn’t hard to ‘keep up’ at all.
Before the War on Terror, Afghanistan  already was a country torn apart by wars.  Beside the conflicts between the different peoples of Afghanistan, the Americans have invaded Afghanistan before and so did the Russians.
Hosseini  keeps a perfect balance between explaining what is and was going on in Afghanistan and the story of it’s people, being Mariam, Rasheed, Tariq, Laila and her children in A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Another strong point of A Thousand Splendid Suns is that one can believe it’s real. Althought the story itself is fiction, one believes that it really happenend. I think that that gives the readers the feeling that in Afghanistan there aren’t only Taliban fighters and trainingcamps for Al-Qaeda terrorists. No, it is a land with a rich history and interesting people.  A land that has  already endured so many wars before the War on Terror began. That Hosseini himself is from Aghanistan makes A Thousand Splendid Suns even more realistic in my eyes.

And like this all isn’t enough, there’s even a message in  A Thousand Splendid. It is about two women and their place in a society of men and how important the women in this society are. The situation of the women in Afghanistan is very bad and needs to be changed.

“A society has no chance of success if it’s women are uneducated…”
A Thousand Splendid Suns

and as Hosseini says in an interview,

“I don’t want to sound self-important, but this is a vital issue for the future of Afghanistan. If we eliminate half the population from the process of rebuilding the country, it doesn’t stand a chance. Women were traditionally the backbone of the education system. Now we have a country where 80 per cent of women are illiterate.”

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a sad story, but above that about hope, friendship and love. I know that’s sounds a bit cheesy, but really, it’s true and this book is definitely worth reading.

Yeva Swart.

P.S. Having mentioned James Bond twice (I didn’t know there’s a connection between 007 and A Thousand Splendid Suns) I can’t resist to show this, enjoy!

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1 Comment

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One response to “A Thousand Splendid Suns

  1. Dear Yeva,

    I should congratulate you on writing an excellent blog post. I think the best thing about your writing is the way you’ve structured your post, moving from a very clear and gripping introduction to some general information and finally an interesting question to further advance your opinion piece.

    Your use of English is definitely at the required level and you are a very good writer. You did however leave some spelling mistakes in your post (wich/auther) and should next time use a spellchecker or even a second reader to help you prevent these mistakes. Also, make sure all the linked content is relevant, most of your links perfectly augmented your argument while others could have been left out, e.g. Tate & motion picture.

    Job well done, mark: 9

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