Thousand Splendid SunsPosted: 2013/07/18
Hosseini, Khaled. A Thousand Splendid Suns. New York: Riverhead Books, 2007.
Part One follows the story of Mariam, an Afghan child born out of wedlock to a wealthy businessman and his servant, Nana. It begins with Mariam as a five year old, full of adoration for her father although he keeps his illegitimate family hidden in the country, far away from the prying eyes of his three wives, nine legitimate children and nosy community. For ten years Mariam adores her father despite the fact he only visits her on Thursdays and regales her with stories of riches she will never see. At fifteen Mariam has finally had enough and travels to the city to visit her father, only to be banished once again – this to a prearranged marriage to a merchant thirty years her senior.
Part Two follows the story of another girl, fifteen years younger than Mariam. Laila is nine years old and living with her parents in the same Afghan city as Mariam. She has a much different upbringing than Mariam, though. Laila’s formal education is fully supported by her parents and she is allowed to socialize with children her own age. She has one special attachment, a boy named Tariq. Over the course of five years Laila’s relationship with Tariq blossoms into a teenage romance.
Part Three brings Mariam and Laila together. The same man who marries Mariam marries Laila. It is the abuse they both suffer at the hands of their husband that brings them together as friends. The bond they share takes them to a startling and devastating conclusion.
Thought provoking lines, “But all she ran into was their absence” (p 141) and “She had passed these years in a distant corner of her mind” (p 256).
Reason read: July is supposedly the best time to visit Afghanistan…when it’s deemed safe to do so.
Author fact: Hosseini also wrote The Kite Runner which was made into a movie.
Book trivia: A Thousand Splendid Suns is a best seller.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empires” (p 6).