A Thousand Splendid Suns

Khaled Hosseini


A Thousand Splendid Suns is based within last 30 some years in Afghanistan following the historical conflicts that happened in and around Kabul. In those 30 years the reader is able to see the violent rise and fall of many leaders and dictators that have taken Kabul for their own and they are able to see the emotional and physical affect of this on the citizens. To the Soviet takeover, the warring factions during and after the Soviets control, and then the sudden rise of the Taliban. In the book the reader is able to see into the lives of two different women whose lives are almost polar opposite yet they find a deep love and friendship in each other by the end of their story.

Major and Minor Characters

Mariam: From a small weed to strong limestone

“She was leaving the world as a woman who had loved and been loved back. She was leaving it as a friend, a companion, a guardian. A mother. A person of consequence at last.”

Laila: Laila was born the generation after Mariam and she grew up privileged.

"Mammy didn't understand. She didn't understand that if she looked into a mirror, she would find the one unfailing conviction of Babi's life looking right back at her."

Rasheed: Rasheed lost his wife in childbirth and his son when he was being inattentive and his son drowned. It can be inferred that he was never really kind in the first place when Mariam finds a picture of him and his first wife. The wife looks uncomfortable under the smiling Rasheed.

"Well, one does not drive a Volga and a Benz in the same manner. That would be foolish, wouldn't it?"

Jalil: Jalil is a businessman with a fairly selfish attitude that leads to him pushing his daughter Mariam away for the safety of his reputation and household.

Nana: Nana is a very depressed woman who lives alone with her daughter Mariam. She takes out all of her anger from her misfortunes on Mariam--the main source of her despair.

“Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman.”

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Historical Information

Published on May 22, 2007

Media was very focused on the war in Afghanistan--the US against the Taliban regime after the terrorist attack in 2001. The author had taken a visit back to his home town of Kabul only to see women with 5-6 children in the streets begging for food and other sustenance.
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Khaled Hosseini

Born in Kabul March 4, 1965.

Hosseini’s family had seeked political asylum in the United States. His family started living in San Jose, California.

Started taking up practice in internal medicine in 1996.

In his first novel The Kite Runner the main character Amir moves with his family to the United States.

Significance? Is This Book a Classic?

Authors Use of Literary Devices

- Allusion

“Kabul,” written by the Persian poet Saib-e-Tabrizi

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,

Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.

- Foreshadowing

"I'll die if you go, I'll just die." - Nana

- Foil

Laila, Aziza

- Irony

"She felt prized by his protectiveness. Treasured and significant."