A Thousand Splendid Suns

May 27, 2013 § 2 Comments

A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns

“Like a compass facing north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.” – Khaled Hosseini

A story of two women, Laila and Mariam, a story of two cities, Herat and Kabul, a story of war and a story of life, all within Khaled Hosseini literary masterpiece. I struggled to understand why this book was a bestseller for so many weeks when I began reading it, I blame the awful formatting of it by whoever created the electronic copy of the novel. Every other sentence had either a spelling mistake or a type or a missing letter or two words concatenated together making it really hard to enjoy Hosseini’s language. Most of the time I found myself skipping through the words that made no sense which reminded me of the years back in the past when I was still learning English and had to use the context to understand the meaning of the words I read for the first time. Below is one example, I still have no idea what words are these:


photo-2 copy

This, I believe, ruined the book a little for me however despite the terrible formatting, the words stayed with me and I cannot explain it other than that sometimes things that are real do not require a fancy language to explain or describe them, that it is enough to just show them to the reader. I saw the war through the narrow eye hole of the burqa, I saw the Soviets and the Taliban, I saw people falling in love, I saw human being surpass hardship and living conditions that are simply degrading. And if most books I finish, put down and forget, A Thousand Splendid Suns is different, it is still with me a couple of days later.

I go back to Mariam and her seemingly pointless life – a verbally abusive mother, an ignorant father who left her more than once and then gave her a way to an old man, her husband who beat her, belittled her, treated her like vermin not worth seeing the daylight, her heart that despite all of this loved and accepted love from Laila and her children, the beauty of friendship which blossomed in the most unusual circumstances between two neglected wives who both have lost so much when they were still children, who were married off at 15, who were repeatedly raped, yet found beauty and peace in the time they spent together locked inside the house, hid behind the burqa, unable to step outside without a company of a man.

Reading about it all in such a tragic matter of factly voice, I struggled, I cried, I begged to know – why? How does a person go on living a life like this one? How? How enduring is the brain and how accepting and forgiving is the heart to keep going on with the war outside the window and the war inside the home? And yet both women did. Year after year after year becoming and growing stronger with every scar, with every insult, after each lost tooth, and at death when life which seemed pointless and meaningless, was showed to be exactly the opposite. There are indeed things that no power and no weapon can destroy.

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§ 2 Responses to A Thousand Splendid Suns

  • jocelynr says:

    I found that book so terribly horrifying, and yet, as you mention, so haunting in its depiction of women who can carry on and indeed enjoy life in the midst of, despite, such terrible circumstances. It is a challenge to me in many ways to enjoy life that much more fully because of the absence of such degrading and terrible circumstances.

    Well written review J, as always. Curious to know what’s next on your reading list. 🙂

    • Biblepanic says:

      I started readin Dark Places on my way to whitstable and I am shocked at how much i am enjoying it! I do not tend to read books like this one but a friend insisted i give it a go.

      You are right, i too found myself in the same place, i really do have nothing to complain about.

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