A Thousand Splendid Suns

Hi folks. This is a book review I wrote for Mouthshut! You can see the review posted here:


The Book:

After the huge success of Kite Runner, expectations were sky high with Khaled Hosseini. Kite Runner was a gem and so is ATSS. A thousand splendid suns lives up to the huge expectations. KR told a heart touching tale of the bond between two men. ATSS tells a heart wrenching anecdote of two women. It dives into the livelihood and sufferings of women in Afghanistan and successfully takes you into another world which is beyond your imagination. This small 350+ page sensation will change your perception of women forever. Note it!

The Title:

The name of the novel comes from Josephine Davis' translation of the Persian poet Saeb-e-Tabrizi's poem.

"One Could Not Count The Moons That Shimmer On Her Roofs

Or The Thousand Splendid Suns That Hide Behind Her Walls"

Author is patriotic – which is evident from the fact that these lines come twice in the novel and they highlight the beauty of Kabul. Apart from such obvious meanings, the title goes very well with the theme of the novel.

The Story:

(Don’t read this portion if you want to enjoy novel to the fullest. And if you are too enthusiastic to resist then go on:-)

Mariam and Laila are the lead protagonists. Mariam was born as a harami(illegitimate). Her mother Nana commits suicide. 14 year old Mariam’s illegitimate father(Jalil) marries her to a 40 year old shoe- maker of Kabul(Rashid). Laila on the other hand was raised by a very supporting and liberal father. Unfortunately Laila’s parents die in a rocket blast. Laila’s childhood love Tariq leaves Afghanistan along with his family. Fate brings Laila to Rashid and she had to marry Rashid(who is his around 60 by then). Laila and Mariam don’t like each other in the beginning. But Rashid’s atrocities make them come closer. Gradually there grows a bond among them – they are best friends, mother-daughter and off course they both are wives of ageing Rashid.

(That’s all I can tell. Else you all would kill me :-)

Anyway. Story takes many amazing twists and turns after that. Don’t miss the thrill of reading this dazzling work by Khaled Hosseini.

The Analysis:

Khaled Hosseini has once again proved his mettle as a brilliant story teller. Though it is a work of fiction but it is based on real life incidences. Khaled interviewed a lot of women before writing this book. Their sufferings and agony can horrify anybody. So much pain, so much torture is everywhere in Afghanistan. The story covers almost 30 years from 1974 to 2004. In these 30 years Afghanistan has seen loads of changes - political parties rising and falling from power, men dying and killing in the name of Jehad, attacks from Russia and USA, millions of innocent civilians being killed, thousands leaving Afghanistan and settling as refugees in other parts of world. In all this period of Turmoil the beautiful Afghanistan has turned in a heap of dust.

One thing which nobody paid attention is the condition of women. This is a brave attempt on the part of author to being forth the unnoticed!

The story and incidences are so tragic that even the toughest of hearts are going to shed tears.

Do read this novel – not for your tears but for theirs.

Not for the tragedy but for the victory of existence.

Not for cruelties but for the magnificence of life.

Plus Points

  • Wonderful Story and Storytelling.
  • Great writing skills.
  • Showcases culture of Afghanistan.

Weak Points

Though I may not consider it as a weak point but the feeling of fear, sadness, tragedy – sometimes make novel too depressing. When I was reading this book I was on my toes(which is a good thing for a novel) throughout the novel. I was so involved with the characters that I could feel their anxiety, plight and terror. I just wish there were few more happy moments in the tale.

The Rating

Story = 9/10

Storytelling = 8/10

Dialogues = 8/10

Grip = 9/10

Intensity = 7/10

X-Factor = 8/10

Value for money = 7/10(Yes, Its expensive @ 500 bucks!)

The Bonus

Here are some dialogues/moments from the novel which I loved the most:

"This was a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate beginnings."

For one last time, she obeyed what she was told.”

“..but the game involves only male names...because, if its a girl, Laila has already named her.”

I was shocked to tears when Laila makes the choice of getting a caesarean operation done without any anesthesia or pain-killers.

When Mariam leaves Jalil at the bus stop and says she didn’t want to hear from him ever again and that he didnt even have the decency to give her the time to say goodbye to mullah faizullah.

When Mariam pleads Jalil not to marry her and says –‘ you cannot do this to me’.

When Mariam tells Laila that Rasheed is planning to marry her and he’s asking for an answer by tomorrow morning and Laila says-‘You can have my answer now. Its Yes!’

When Laila does the ‘Babalu prayers’ with Zalmai(her son).

When Laila decides to let Rashid get physical with her so that she could raise Tariq’s child.

When Mariam was forced to eat pebbles because Rasheed did not like her food. Khaled writes, “Then he was gone, leaving Mariam to spit out pebbles, blood, and the fragments of two broken molars.

Final Verdict


1 comment:

Calla said...

have you read khaled hosseini's kite runner..?
both novels shows a great regret of the past and try to fix it by satisfy their guilt (mariam become a mother for laila to cover her guilt when she left her mother)..
do you think that the author want to tell something from this fact?
i wondering if the author had this feeling too..