A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Book - 2007
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1 New York Times bestselling author.

Main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and Literary Guild.

Both born in Afghanistan a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family Mariam and Laila are brought together by war by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them - in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul - they form a bond that will ultimately alter the course of their lives and the lives of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice and that in the end it is love or even the memory of love that is often the key to survival.

"Searing ... forceful ... harrowing." - Publishers Weekly starred.

"Unimaginably tragic Hosseini's magnificent second novel is a sad and beautiful testament to both Afghani suffering and strength. Readers who lost themselves in The Kite Runner will not want to miss this unforgettable follow-up." - Booklist starred

Publisher: Thorndike, Me. : Center Point Pub., c2007
ISBN: 9781602850330
Characteristics: 448 p. (large print) ; 23 cm


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Feb 10, 2021

This novel by Hosseini pulls on the heart strings of the reader and really gets you connected with the main character Mariam as she grows up in Afghanistan. Even if you don’t have much in common with the character you still develop an empathy for her as she deals with one problem to the next with a stubborn attitude. Later the story gets set in another woman’s perspective and keeps switching between the two. The language that Hosseini is very easy to understand, although there are some foreign words that may need to be searched up if the context wasn’t enough. Overall, it’s hard to get tired of reading this book therefore I rate it 5 out of 5.
@SmushedMushroom of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

IndyPL_RyanD Nov 03, 2020

Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns are great books for a variety of reasons. The stories are intense and readers do not want to put the books down until they find out what happens next. Issues that have affected Afghanistan’s history such as war and violence, the rise of the Taliban, poverty, and immigration are also incorporated into these stories. These stories and issues also read like someone’s real life memoir of growing up in Afghanistan and help readers understand the country better.

A Thousand Splendid Suns contains these same elements and focuses on female characters in the story. The book successfully blends different subjects together such as the Soviet Union’s War on Afghanistan and women from different backgrounds being forced into arranged marriages. The characters in this book make sacrifices and overcome hardships throughout the story making the book a compelling read.

Sep 21, 2020

The intertwined stories of two brave women in Afghanistan during the war years to the near present, facing discrimination, abuse, ravages of war, heartbreak, and love.

Aug 16, 2020

I couldn't finish the book. There was too much graphic violence and brutality against women.

Jul 30, 2020

The end of this book had me in tears. It is a beautifully written novel of two women in Afghanistan from the 1970's through the early 2000's. This book transported me to a place that I knew little about and covered history that is in my own lifetime. I'll always think differently of Afghanistan after reading this book.

A satisfying read. I was surprised to learn that it was written by a man.

Jul 24, 2020

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a story about two women, Mariam and Laila, who are married to the same man, Rasheed. The story is a cross between the generations of Rasheed, Mariam and Laila with Mariam being about 20 years older than Laila and Rasheed being about 30 years older than Mariam and 50 years older than Laila. The two wives are subject to physical torture by Rasheed and over time, they become friends and try to solve their problems.
A Thousand Splendid Suns highlights the struggles of Aghan women and their culture. It specifically focuses on women who are married and unmarried from an unbiased perspective. The novel is filled with strong and powerful emotions along with a simulating plot, making it one of my favorite books. One of the main messages of the story is that even when life seems to be unfair and unkind, love and compassion can do miracles.

Jun 24, 2020

From an Afghanistan war veteran: "Kite Runner" was Dickensian (like Charles Dickens) in the worst way (social novel). "Splendid Suns" more than makes up for it: after all, it's a Dickensian picaresque novel, and a near-perfect one at that. A beautiful read.

Mar 08, 2020

Same author as Kite Flyer.

Dec 22, 2019

This is so beautifully written. It made me cry and cry. This book is amazing

Dec 14, 2019

A very nice balance of events happening during these hard times and the lives of 2 women. I lot of writers would have turned this into an epic novel. Thank you for writing it so succinctly to get the beautiful story communicated.

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Jul 20, 2019

"One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls."

Jul 20, 2019

"But time is the most unforgiving of fires..."

Aug 06, 2018

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.

Poem written by Saeb-e-Tabrizi, a seventeenth - century Persian poet.

Sep 21, 2012

“A society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated...”
― Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

Jul 07, 2011

"One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls."

Jul 07, 2011

"Like a compass needle that points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman. Always."

Jul 07, 2011

"Women like us. We endure. It's all we have."


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Jul 24, 2020

IshaanGupta30 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Feb 12, 2019

kelseymacc thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Nilufar1998 Nov 19, 2013

Nilufar1998 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Dec 19, 2010

Keep_On_Rockin thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Dec 22, 2009

youareahunter thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Summary
randallflagg Mar 03, 2012

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The novel is divided into four parts. The first part focuses exclusively on Mariam, the second and fourth parts focus on Laila, and the third part switches focus between Mariam and Laila with each chapter.

Mariam lives in a kolba on the outskirts of Herat with her mother. Jalil, her father, is a wealthy man who lives in town with three wives and nine children. Because Mariam is his illegitimate daughter, she cannot live with them, but Jalil visits her every Thursday. On her fifteenth birthday, Mariam wants her father to take her to see Pinocchio at his movie theater. When he does not show up, she hikes into town and goes to his house. He refuses to see her, and she ends up sleeping on the porch. In the morning, Mariam returns home to find that her mother has hanged herself out of fear that her daughter has deserted her. Mariam is then taken to live in her father's house. Jalil arranges for her to be married to Rasheed, a shoemaker from Kabul who is thirty years her senior. In Kabul, Mariam becomes pregnant seven successive times, but is never able to carry a child to term, and Rasheed gradually becomes more abusive.

In the same neighborhood live a girl named Laila and a boy named Tariq, who are close friends, but careful of social boundaries. War comes to Afghanistan, and Kabul is bombarded by rocket attacks. Tariq's family decides to leave the city, and the emotional farewell between Laila and Tariq ends with them making love. Laila's family also decides to leave Kabul, but as they are packing a rocket destroys the house, kills her parents, and severely injures Laila. Laila is taken in by Rasheed and Mariam.

After recovering from her injuries, Laila discovers that she is pregnant with Tariq's child. After being told that Tariq is dead, she agrees to marry Rasheed, who is eager to have a young and attractive second wife, and hopes to have a child with her. When Laila gives birth to a daughter, Aziza, Rasheed is displeased and suspicious, and he soon becomes abusive toward Laila. Mariam and Laila eventually become confidantes and best friends. They plan to run away from Rasheed and leave Kabul, but they are caught at the bus station. Rasheed beats them and deprives them of water for several days, almost killing Aziza.

A few years later, Laila gives birth to Zalmai, Rasheed's son. The Taliban has risen to power, and there is a drought, and living conditions in Kabul become poor. Rasheed's workshop burns down, and he is forced to take jobs for which he is ill-suited. Rasheed sends Aziza to an orphanage. Then one day, Tariq appears outside the house. He and Laila are reunited, and their passions flare anew. When Rasheed returns home from work, Zalmai tells his father about the visitor. Rasheed starts to savagely beat Laila. He nearly strangles her, but Mariam kills Rasheed with a shovel. Afterwards, Mariam confesses to killing Rasheed, in order to draw attention away from Laila and Tariq, and is executed, while Laila and Tariq leave for Pakistan with Aziza and Zalmai.

After the fall of the Taliban, Laila and Tariq return to Afghanistan. They stop in the village where Mariam was raised, and discover a package that Mariam's father left behind for her: a videotape of Pinocchio, a small pile of money and a letter. Laila reads the letter and discovers that Jalil regretted sending Mariam away. Laila and Tariq return to Kabul and fix up the orphanage, where Laila starts working as a teacher. Laila is pregnant with her third child, and if it is a girl, it is suggested she will be named Mariam.

Jul 14, 2011

Though not a huge fan of contemporary fiction, I finally succumbed after reading several rave reviews and must admit I wasn’t disappointed. Face-paced and well-written, it is easily read in a few sittings.
The story follows 2 women, Miriam and Laila, both born in Afghanistan but in different regions and hence very different worlds. Both their lives ultimately collide through the consequences of unrelenting battles, invasions and uprisings this country has undergone over the last half century.
As both women endure unimaginable suffering and degradation, the story climaxes with the rise of the Taliban and its notorious intolerance and cruelty that will make any woman reader grateful to have had the extraordinary luck of living in a free country.
What I took away from this story is that there is a culture to Afghanistan that is constantly overshadowed (or in some cases, destroyed) by its political issues. If nothing else, it compelled me to explore its history and unique culture a little further.
All in all, a good story with opportunities to learn about a place I otherwise may not have explored.

Jul 04, 2011

The story takes place during the war in Afghanistan, before and after the Taliban. A beautifully haunting story of 2 unlikely characters brought together during the war, and the sacrifices they had to make for the ones they love.

mackenzie_kilbourne Jun 13, 2011

Loved this book. I used this novel for an english essay and it was very easy to find strong themes and quotes.

heatherlynn Jun 23, 2008

Main Characters:

Change in Kabul from Soviet occupation to post-taliban.


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Dec 19, 2010

Violence: This title contains Violence.

Dec 22, 2009

Violence: Violence & Mature Themes

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