Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

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A Thousand splendid Suns is written by Khaled Hosseini (who also wrote ‘The Kite Runner’).

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they face the ever increasing dangers around them- in their home as well as in the city of Kabul-they come to form a relationship that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other at the same time. The path that they chose eventually shapes their future.

You might be familiar with the backdrop of the book and that it is basically a novel about the wars and unrest in Kabul and about the brutal treatment of women in general in Afganistan. The major part of the book revolves around two women who are bought together by war, loss and above all, hope. The writing is engrossing throughout. The timescale of the novel is about 30 years, so the reader gets to know a lot of things about the history of Afganistan.

The incidents are beautifully described and you can feel empathy and happiness for the characters at different times. Though the tone is mostly depressing throughout, there are nicely placed segments of hope as well. One of the two major characters, Mariam experiences much tragedy in her life, nevertheless her selflessness nature(a mother-daughter relationship after all) emerges for the love of Laila and her future. Their marvellous relationship makes the novel a story of love, sympathy and hope. The surroundings are bleak for most times which contributes to the poor relationship between some characters. Also the title “splendid suns” isn’t very apt to describe the many sections of depression.  However the clear, realistic writing of the author in describing the sections of love and hope really puts off the fear and brutality for some of those sections.

“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs and the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls” goes the lines of a 17th century poem which inspired the author to write about the beauty of the place along with the title.

 

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