A Thousand Splendid Suns

Kendall Stockard, Adi Silva, Hannah Crose, Katherine Herrick


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A Thousand Splendid Suns is the second book by Khaled Hosseini detailing the tumultuous time in Afghanistan from the 1960s to the present. Through his 2007 best-seller, Hosseini depicts the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the bloody transition to the Taliban, the flood of Afghani refugees to Pakistan, to the eventual United States invasion. Growing up as the son of an Afghan diplomat, Khaled Hosseini witnessed the bloody coup and the invasion by the Soviet army. This experience set up the background for his future novels, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Through the masterful storytelling of Khaled Hosseini, the experience of living in a war-torn nation with little to no rights for women is portrayed for the modern reader.

Throughout the story the point of view switches between the two main characters, Mariam and Laila. Mariam grew up isolated with her mother, Nana. They were both hidden from the rest of society since Mariam was born as a harami, or bastard child. Her father visited once a week and provided food, but kept Mariam and Nana both a secret from the world while he lived with his “real” family. When Mariam is 15 she is forced to enter an arranged marriage with a 40 year old man named Rasheed. Rasheed lives in Kabul, Afghanistan a few houses away from Laila, an educated and opinionated young lady, and her family. For years their lives do not cross paths, but eventually they come together when Laila suffers family losses by the Taliban. Mariam and Laila form a strong bond together as they try to survive in a world where women have no control.

One of the main themes of this story is discrimination of women. Hosseini highlights women’s lack of rights and how living in a world only controlled by men can be dangerous. By showing Mariam and Laila each growing up in completely different backgrounds the reader can see how it did not matter where a woman came from, she was still subject to abuse and considered property. Though this theme is not entirely universal since it mainly stands out to women, the book still holds great significance to everyone who lives in a developed country.

People who are fortunate enough to have a life in the United States often take their rights for granted. Americans do not have to live in fear each day of bombs that might destroy their homes, or worry about whether or not it is safe to go to school. The biggest lesson to take away from A Thousand Splendid Suns is just how lucky we are as Americans to live in a free country. Especially as women, we should feel blessed to have control over our bodies and have choices of who we want to be.

Khaled Hosseini covers a vast time frame and interweaves both Mariam and Laila’s stories to tell this timeless tale. Through this wonderfully written story, readers become grateful of warless nation, and their human rights. Hosseini’s portrayal of the hardships in Afghanistan creates an incredibly moving impression to the people of the world who live much more comfortable lives. The reader cannot help but feel connected to the main characters as they constantly fight oppression. Though the story has many parts that are quite disturbing and sometimes difficult to read, particularly without crying, it still has a heartwarming end that offers hope for the future. We strongly recommend this book for its impact it has on its audience and its ability to spread awareness of different cultures.

Video Recap

A Thousand Splendid Suns Review - KAHK

Other Books Like This

  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini
  • And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Housseini
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi