A Thousand Splendid Suns

The second book of author Khaled Hosseini is once again a bestseller. It appeares to be that everything Hosseini creates will succeed. With his first book, the Kite Runner, he immediately hit the jackpot. Everyone in the world was talking about and flabbergasted by the fictional story of two young Afgan motherless boys who were like brothers to each other. Nothing could break them apart, not the difference in their social status, nor the fact that one boy’s father was the employee of the other’s father. At one point, there was an everything-changing event which caused that  the boys friendship, that appeared to be for the rest of their lives, cruelly ended.

Hosseini has used the same recipe, but with some changes,  in ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’.

Mariam, the illegimate child of an exalted merchant, lived with her mother excluded from the village ,Herat, where her father lived with his three wives. Mariam’s youth wasn’t a carefree childhood. Her mother, embittered by her destiny, critized her daughter constantly. She told her daughter nothing but life’s miseries. 

Mariam’s mother was so full of hatred of the unfairness of life, that she committed suicide. Leaving her daughter all alone. After her mother died Mariam realized that her mother was right about a lot of things. She found out that her father was indeed the lying and vicious man her mother had said. Not long after her mother’s death, Mariam was married to Rasheed by her father. Rasheed was an older man who didn’t treat his wife as he should.

 Mariam wasn’t able to have children, which frustrated Rasheed. Humiliation and disparagement were things Mariam had to deal with every day. When the much younger and more beautiful Leila, after losing her family, also married Rasheed, Mariam felt unimportant and replaced. There was a lot of rivalry among the two of them. Especially  when appeared that Leila, unlike Mariam, could have children.

But slowly they became friends that supported each other  in their though marriage with Rasheed.

At this point the book shows some similarity to Hosseini’s other book ‘The Kite Runner. Close friendship in Afghanistan during a turbulent time  plays an important role in both stories.

On the other hand, there’s a big difference. In ‘the Kite Runner’ it’s all about the betrayal of the best friend, while in ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns the slowly arisen friendship is so intense that one of the women sacrifices herself so that the other one could be happy:

When Rasheed was trying to strangle Leila, Mariam shot him. By doing this she made the whole family penal. That meant that they had to flee from the Afgan police for the rest of their lives. Mariam didn’t want Leila and her children to live like that and went to the police herself, which meant death penalty.

  ‘A Thousand Splendid  Suns’ is a wonderful book.  The story is so vividly written that reading it is like watching a film. The reader will definitely  have a clearer picture of Afghanistan after reading this book

The book is a great mix of  true historical facts and a fictitious story.  The reader learns a lot about Afghanistan´s history without noticing it. Hosseini used  a great combination, informative and a pleasure to read. 

Only the story’s  believability could have been better at some points.  Especially at the fairytale end, when Leila´s lost boyfriend (Tarik), who was expected dead, came to look for Leila.

They ran away and lived together, thanks to Mariam’s sacrifice, happily ever after. The fact that Tarik was still alive and still wanted to be with Leila, and crossed the whole country to find her, doesn’t make the story as convincing as it could have been.

Nevertheless, Hosseini again succeeded in writing a fascinating story.


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