Customer Reviews for

A Thousand Splendid Suns: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

38 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

This book is equally as good, and as haunting, as Kite Runner. This time the story is about two Afghani women. Life in Afghanistan is wretched enough, but to be a Muslim woman in Afghanistan can be lethal, especially after the Taliban come to power. This book is beautif...
This book is equally as good, and as haunting, as Kite Runner. This time the story is about two Afghani women. Life in Afghanistan is wretched enough, but to be a Muslim woman in Afghanistan can be lethal, especially after the Taliban come to power. This book is beautifully written and at times difficult to read, but it's also difficult to put down. Mariam and Laila are wonderfully-drawn characters that will stay with me forever. They made me know just how lucky I am to be an American woman, and how unfortunate life can be for Muslim women in Muslim countries. This book will break your heart, but it will also put it back together again. Highly recommended.

posted by 1Katherine1 on September 5, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

boring

I am 200 pages through and am finally putting this one down. I loved The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns received great reviews on this site; so, I kept plowing through it expecting it to get better and it never did. I have never written a book review before ...
I am 200 pages through and am finally putting this one down. I loved The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns received great reviews on this site; so, I kept plowing through it expecting it to get better and it never did. I have never written a book review before even though I have been a reader for 15+ years. I feel like the book has been stalled for some time in the same little house with the same three characters going over the same issues. I definitely prefer character development over plot; so, this should have been a good one for me. It was a let down and the first book in years that I do not feel any urge to finish.

posted by 962674 on February 9, 2009

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  • Posted September 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Thousand Splendid Suns

    This book is equally as good, and as haunting, as Kite Runner. This time the story is about two Afghani women. Life in Afghanistan is wretched enough, but to be a Muslim woman in Afghanistan can be lethal, especially after the Taliban come to power. This book is beautifully written and at times difficult to read, but it's also difficult to put down. Mariam and Laila are wonderfully-drawn characters that will stay with me forever. They made me know just how lucky I am to be an American woman, and how unfortunate life can be for Muslim women in Muslim countries. This book will break your heart, but it will also put it back together again. Highly recommended.

    38 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    radiance of a thousand splendid suns in a woman's heart....

    Yes , I just finished Khaled Hosseini's second masterpiece and I am at cross roads of trying to pen down what the pages made me think and feel. Interestingly, I still haven't completed the Kite Runner but this one, I couldn't put down for a second. The first thing that strikes you about the book is the fact that it is the story of the lives of 2 women amidst a battered Afghanistan, spanning several decades, but more importantly, it is a story written by a man, completely from a woman's perspective. This is even more striking when you realize that this is the same author who made his readers' eyes sting with the accounts of "Baba Jaan" in the Kite Runner.

    I am in no way qualified to critique this masterpiece but I don't want to lose the essence that it left me in me today. As one reads the book, one is made brutally aware of the atrocities that are lashed out on women in different levels of society in different ways. One feels a sense of revulsion towards fundamentalism in all its forms. One is apalled at how close to truth, some of these pages probably are. Yes, the storyline speaks to one geographical area and one socio-political community, and yet as I went through the pages, the paragraphs that left my face moist with tears were not the ones that shouted atrocities, rather the ones that would resonate with any woman today, in any part of the world, in any community, in any faith.

    Whether it was the unshed tears of an incomplete love story, or the sorrow of a woman to lose her child even before the little one made an appearence in this world; whether it was the joy of the same woman to find opportunities where she could be a mother in ways that completed her very existence without ever giving birth; whether it was that friend who would kill for you; that friend who would die so you could live your dreams; at the end of the day this was a story of the best and worst facets of human relationships. No one is without frailties, least of all a woman, and yet what makes you look in awe at the 2 principal characters in the book is their very imperfection; their inability to probably fight their circumstances and yet their ability to be the best they can be.

    The book makes you look at reality head on, makes you lock eyes with the most brutal beast that can get you down, some call it fate, some call it circumstances, I call it my reflection in my mirror. You truly are your own worst enemy if you let that reflection determine your image rather than the other way around.

    Laila and Mariam - the 2 principal characters in the book, didn't live, they merely existed, but somehow in all that they went through, their spirit shone with a radiance that can only be a gift of the Divine. Yes, they are characters from a work of fiction, but as I started to look around me, I realized I have the privilege of knowing a lot of women who may not suffer the physical adversities that Laila and Mariam did, but mentally they could have been reduced to a shell of a human being. Yet these women not only survived but have done so with pride, dignity, with their heads held high. We

    15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    YES, SPLENDID

    Judging from the number of reviews, I must be the last person on the planet to read this book. If you listened to the audiobook as I did, just a friendly warning: don't listen to it in public--because I defy you not to bawl like a baby at parts of this book, especially the last third.<BR/>"Suns" seemed to me like an allegorical tale. Hosseini has written a very observant, photographic picture of life in Afghanistan as seen through the eyes of Maryam, Laila and to some extent Rasheed and Tariq. This is definitely a book told through the women. It is about how each of their lives either expands and painfully, brutally and violently contracts at the whim of the men in their lives, just as Afghanistan is contracting and suffocating at the hands of the Russians, warlords and then the Taliban.<BR/>Hosseini does not spare the reader the pain and despair of Maryam's life, beginning with her betrayal by her father, through her daily life with the "cheerful cruelty" and violence of Rasheed, and Laila's unwelcome entry into it. He describes with incredible realism how Laila's life literally explodes around her. This is a well written book I think most would find interesting.<BR/>I haven't read The Kite Runner, but after reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, I cannot wait.

    12 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2009

    Excellent Work

    This is one of the best books I have read. The last 100 pages had me in tears. Really made me think about priveleged I am to live in a country like the USA. Very good book,excellent author. Must get!!!!

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    Heart-wrenching and Touching

    Khaled Hosseini is a very gifted writer. This book blew me away. Hosseini takes you deep into the depressing lives of three central characters and makes you truely get to know them. Books have made me cry and laugh out loud but this was the first novel to make my stomach clench at some of things that happen to these women. I can't wait see more from Hosseini.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2010

    Gripping

    Can we ever read enough books that broaden our perspective on the world and help us see other cultures than our own? This book spans 30 years and gives us a glimpse of the history of Afghanistan through the eyes of two Afghani women. These two women, the older Mariam and the younger Laila, both are wives of Rasheed, a cruel, cold man who sees beating his wife as a man's rightful due. Over time, Mariam and Laila form a bond, and this small little ray of hop and kindness is in stark contrast to the misery of their bleak worlds. Once again, after his masterpiece, "The Kite Runner," Khaled Hosseini is treating us to another involving, gripping novel, and taking us to a place and a life that is likely to make us very much appreciate our own accidents of birth into a much easier world.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    Marvelous Gift!

    I purchased the Large Print edition for my 84 year-old mother-in-law who recently came to live in my home. She was delighted with the gift and enjoyed this volume immensely. When she finished, she was insistent that I find her a copy of its predecessor, The Kite Runner. I completely recommend The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns to all readers, whether the standard print or the large print editions.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Quiet Desperation

    This is a beautifully written story weaving a stark picture of quiet desperation in a culture that devalues and dehumanizes women. This one eats at your very soul!

    Two others I found completely compelling, heartwarming and ultimately life changing are EXPLOSION IN PARIS, by L. Pirrung and THE HELP, by K. Stockett....SO WORTH YOUR TIME!!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    Incredible!

    For a 20 something American this book opened my eyes in so many ways to so many intricate details of middle eastern culture as well as providing a heartwrenchingly universal storyline.I feel privilaged to have read it!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    Beautiful story!

    I read this story in less than a week. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it, too.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2013

    Khaled Husseini books

    This was a excellent book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2012

    An International Must-Read!

    In this spectacular novel, two women named Mariam and Laila meet in the most unordinary circumstance: Laila is nearly killed by a rocket, but her parents are killed. After this, the two learn to become best friends and see that friendship can be the best of things to have during times of crisis. The messages it convey are friendship and sacrifice, because both are always present during these two lives, even when tragedy strikes or disaster hits. I liked how there was everything in a novel, from trials and violence to romance and happiness, all being made into one awesome novel. I didn't like the beginning, because though it told about Mariam's childhood, it got boring at times. I would recommend this for everyone preteen and up, because (parents beware), there is some descriptions of lovemaking (serious), descriptions of gruesome scenes, etc. If you haven't already, read The Kite Runner, the prequel to this, because that novel is also very well written.

    Overall, I would rate this a 9.5, because though it is not one of my all-time favorites, it is still a book I have since added to my collection of my best reads.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2012

    A Thousand Splendid Words

    In Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns 15 year old Mariam is a young girl living with her mother in a shack that they were sent to. Mariam’s mother was a maid for Jalil (Mariam’s father) when they slept together and conceived Mariam. A disgrace, Mariam and her mother were sent to this shack in the middle of nowhere. Mariam was no longer able to deal with her mother’s vicious mood swings and biting temper, so she fled to Jailil’s house only to realize she wasn’t wanted. Upon returning to her mother’s shack, she found that her mother killed herself. Miriam is sent to her father who welcomes her, but his wives don’t accept Miriam. Mariam is quickly given to an older man, Rasheed, whom she is to marry. After being Rasheed’s wife for a while; Rasheed turns abusive toward Mariam when he finds she cannot have children. Laila is a girl much younger than Mariam who had a close childhood friend Tariq. Tariq lost one leg early in life. As the children grow up, Laila and Tariq fall in love. Laila’s brothers Ahmad and Noor are fighting in war; when they die Laila’s mother Fariba spirals into depression. Laila finds out Tariq is leaving for Pakistan; he asks her to come with her, but she doesn’t want to abandon the father she loves so dearly. Laila and Tariq have sex before Tariq leaves. A few weeks later Laila and her family packed to leave Afghanistan when her family’s home is hit by a bomb, she is the only survivor. Rasheed takes her in and eventually marries her, making Mariam angry. Laila births two children, the first Tariq’s and the other Rasheed’s. Rasheed turns abusive toward Laila, and Laila and Mariam bond. The women plot to run away from Rasheed and start a new life, but there are many barriers in their way. Some major themes of this story were the desire for freedom, staying strong no matter the battles you’re faced with, and the bravery of women. My likes were Hosseini’s attention to detail; everything was so well illustrated. I also loved Laila and Mariam as characters; they were brave and heroes. I didn’t have any dislikes, this book was life changing. Everyone should read this because of the appreciation it gives you for the life you lead. If you enjoyed this book; I would also recommend Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner or other books about worldly struggle. I gave this book five starts because of how impactful and beautifully written it was.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2009

    awesome

    After reading a thousand splendid suns, i had a clear cut view of the some of the problems regarding sexism in Afghanistan. Throughout the book we follow two Afghani women who face the adversity that their unique societies present to them. This really painted a realistic picture as to the extremely different lives americans live compared to afghanis. I really had a strong feeling for this novel just because you feel the pain and sorrow that these women do. I would strongly recommend this book as well as The kite runner.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2013

    Highly Recommend

    The Author tells a hard story of a young girl named Mariam who was forced to marry as a child to a old man who was a shoe maker in the hard country Kabul. This story will take you places which you will be glad you never lived but yet it teaches you about the harsh life in this other land. Much sadness but you have many tears of hope for Mariam throughout her life, not so much happiness she ever lived in her harsh life. I will tell you I'm soft hearted and I went though many tissues and kept reading. I came to love Mariam and pity her even more.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    I Love all of Hosseini's books! This story is tragic but beauti

    I Love all of Hosseini's books! This story is tragic but beautiful at the same time. Even though the novel is sad it is an easy and enjoyable read

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2013

    I thought that this book was better than Kite Runner.  It is ver

    I thought that this book was better than Kite Runner.  It is very thought provoking.  Highly recommended.  A page-turner.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    LOVE THIS BOOK! Such a life changing novel! It will have you baw

    LOVE THIS BOOK! Such a life changing novel! It will have you bawling like a baby! Definitely recommend it!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    Loved it

    Brilliant! I finished this book in a day. I just couldn't put it down. It's gripping, horrifying, and heart-wrenching. It captivates the essence of inner strength when you should have none left. It shows the human spirit, our connections to each other, and the power we still have in our own humanity, even when it seems we have nothing left at all. It reveals self-sacrifice, gratitude for life's fleeting moments of joy in an overwhelming sea of despair. I could go on and on. Read it yourself, because it's worth it!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    boring

    I am 200 pages through and am finally putting this one down. I loved The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns received great reviews on this site; so, I kept plowing through it expecting it to get better and it never did. I have never written a book review before even though I have been a reader for 15+ years. I feel like the book has been stalled for some time in the same little house with the same three characters going over the same issues. I definitely prefer character development over plot; so, this should have been a good one for me. It was a let down and the first book in years that I do not feel any urge to finish.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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