A Thousand Splendid Suns

This book is by Afghan author Khaled Hosseini. I read his first bestseller Kite Runner many years ago and enjoyed it very much. I had reservations about A Thousand Splendid Suns at first but the author is a storyteller and I had to finish it to know how the story ended. I did enjoy it after all. The plight of the central characters Miriam and Laila give a human and very personal perspective on what its like to live in the midst of war. Being always keenly aware of dropping bombs, never knowing if one day you could be a casualty of one. Warring religious and political ideologies like the Taliban conquering your way of life and subjecting to their strict cherry-picked beliefs that are totally irrational. Not to mention the civilian casualties whose personal stories are seldom heard.

This book opens this world and draws you in through fictional characters, living in real times and circumstances that are relevant to now. Khaled detailed history of locations and groups was a little excessive at times and took me out of the book momentarily but for someone who's familiar with Afghanistan and its history, I'm sure it would be relevant.

What kept my interest was the unknown. That of its customs and people's deep-seated religious beliefs as the main two female characters try to find love and respect in a misogynistic society. The degradation of the two women is painful to read especially from their husband Rasheed. This wife beater is a disgusting creature. It is unfortunate that the law backed whatever he chose to do to his wives or any other women. They were property and not equal on any level.

In many places, Khaled was able to weave beautiful prose. Whether it was describing some wonderful aspect of nature or a characters description or feelings communicating from within to the exterior. The images were vivid and exotic. However, the story seemed to lose steam in the last quarter of the book where it felt like Khaled was rapidly wrapping things up.

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