A Thousand Splendid Suns – Quick Review


Khaled Hosseini خالد حسینی Afghanistan

Bloomsbury (2007), 432 pages

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A Thousand Splendid Suns is a comprehensive journey through modern Afghan history from the end of monarchy, through Communist dictatorship, the anarchy of the warlords, and the brutal rule of the Taliban.  It is the personal lives of Mariam and Laila, and where they intertwine that takes centre stage in A Thousand Splendid Suns.  There is hope and love in the novel but there is also great violence and brutality.  Misrule by men leads to horrific abuses of the Afghan people.  It is women who suffer most.  Even women who are not directly caught up in the martial violence fall victim to the creation of a culture where women can become the property of men and be forced under their physical, economic, and sexual control (and in some cases women are complicit in this oppression).  The real fight in A Thousand Splendid Suns is for the most basic women’s rights.  Despite the decreasing freedoms of Mariam and Laila they  create as much autonomy as they can through acts of rebellion, their imagination, and the love for each other and their children.  Hosseini’s novel shows that a person’s life is not defined its end but how it is lived.



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