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42 Local Warehouse Literature- A to Z

A Thousand Splendid Suns: A Novel

by

A Thousand Splendid Suns: A Novel Cover

 

Staff Pick

Never mind the sophomore slump — this book devours that cliché. As well as illuminating the rich history and familial culture behind war-torn Afghanistan, A Thousand Splendid Suns is filled with authentic relationships and characters that are absolutely haunting.
Recommended by Danielle, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"If A Thousand Splendid Suns is a little shaky as a work of literature, at least a reader feels that Hosseini has more at stake than where the book ends up on the bestseller list." Yvonne Zipp, Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)

"It's not that emotionally hardened (or what could fairly be called 'regular') men won't like this book. They just won't want to....This would be as painful as it sounds if it weren't for Hosseini's incredible storytelling. As it is, you can't help but be invested in the lives of these characters..." Peter Martin, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

After 103 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and with four million copies of The Kite Runner shipped, Khaled Hosseini returns with a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms his place as one of the most important literary writers today.

Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them — in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul — they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

Review:

"Afghan-American novelist Hosseini follows up his bestselling The Kite Runner with another searing epic of Afghanistan in turmoil. The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through the lives of two women. Mariam is the scorned illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, forced at age 15 into marrying the 40-year-old Rasheed, who grows increasingly brutal as she fails to produce a child. Eighteen later, Rasheed takes another wife, 14-year-old Laila, a smart and spirited girl whose only other options, after her parents are killed by rocket fire, are prostitution or starvation. Against a backdrop of unending war, Mariam and Laila become allies in an asymmetrical battle with Rasheed, whose violent misogyny — 'There was no cursing, no screaming, no pleading, no surprised yelps, only the systematic business of beating and being beaten' — is endorsed by custom and law. Hosseini gives a forceful but nuanced portrait of a patriarchal despotism where women are agonizingly dependent on fathers, husbands and especially sons, the bearing of male children being their sole path to social status. His tale is a powerful, harrowing depiction of Afghanistan, but also a lyrical evocation of the lives and enduring hopes of its resilient characters." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"At the National Book Festival on Washington's Mall last fall, the line of people waiting to have Khaled Hosseini sign copies of his first novel, 'The Kite Runner,' was so long it seemed to stretch across Memorial Bridge and into Virginia. It was telling proof of the extraordinary and somewhat implausible popularity enjoyed by that novel about a young Afghan who betrays his best friend but ultimately... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Unimaginably tragic, Hosseini's magnificent second novel is a sad and beautiful testament to both Afghani suffering and strength. Readers who lost themselves in The Kite Runner will not want to miss this unforgettable follow up." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"Hosseini barrels through each grim development unflinchingly, seeking illumination. Another artistic triumph, and surefire bestseller, for this fearless writer." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[A] second novel as spectacular as Khaled Hosseini's mega-selling The Kite Runner, [that] could be the runaway hit of 2007....Hosseini tells this saddest of stories in achingly beautiful prose through stunningly heroic characters whose spirits somehow grasp the dimmest rays of hope." USA Today

Review:

"Hosseini's bewitching narrative captures the intimate details of life in a world where it's a struggle to survive, skillfully inserting this human story into the larger backdrop of recent history." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"What keep this novel vivid and compelling are Hosseini's eye for the textures of daily life and his ability to portray a full range of human emotions, from the smoldering rage of an abused wife to the early flutters of maternal love when a woman discovers she is carrying a baby." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"While Afghanistan has virtually disappeared from the headlines...A Thousand Splendid Suns offers all the crowd-pleasing appeal of his debut, with some star-crossed lovers thrown in for good measure. (Grade: B+)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"The violence is as graphic as you would expect in any book that details the atrocities of war....A Thousand Splendid Suns will tear at your heart and make you better understand the legacy of violence our soldiers are fighting against in Afghanistan." Chicago Sun-Times

Review:

"[E]xceeds every expectation. This tough-to-put-down book leaves even a jaded reader crying, wincing and gasping at Laila and Mariam's agony — and triumphing at their fleeting happiness. If anything, Splendid Suns is more visceral and heart-wrenching than Kite Runner." The Associated Press

Synopsis:

After 103 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and with four million copies of The Kite Runner shipped, Khaled Hosseini returns with a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms his place as one of the most important literary writers today.

Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul--they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

Synopsis:

After 103 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and with four million copies of The Kite Runner shipped, Khaled Hosseini returns with a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms his place as one of the most important literary writers today.

Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul-they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

Video

About the Author

Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and moved to the United States in 1980. His first novel, The Kite Runner, was an international bestseller, published in 34 countries. In 2006 he received the Humanitarian Award from the United Nations Refugee Agency and was named a U.S. goodwill envoy to that agency. He lives in northern California.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 20 comments:

bkwrm, August 21, 2010 (view all comments by bkwrm)
I was told to skip this book. I am glad I didn't listen. I had tears streaming down my face as I finished reading the book.
I love to get insight into another country and it's rich history while at the same time being in the personal world of people
living their lives amidst the turmoil. The characters are real and their lives are endlessly painful but it is an absorbing and
worthwhile read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
soapboxinmymind, August 9, 2010 (view all comments by soapboxinmymind)
A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini, is a tale of two women whose lives intersect, then intertwine during a very volatile time in Afghanistan. In the forefront, two women, Mariam and Laila, grow up separately under different circumstances, but end up sharing a husband and their lives. The landscape of this tale is an ever-changing and politically manhandled Afghanistan. The horrors are atrocious, the love is deep and meaningful, and the loyalty is eternal.

This book was extremely moving. The English language mixed with the occasional Farsi was done without interruption to the story. It added to the tone and feel of the book. The story was detailed, yet simply written. I really sympathised with the characters, or hated them, depending. I cringed during many of the atrocities. But the ending was filled with hope and a kind of redemption that leaves the reader satisfied.

On a scale of 1-4 I give this book a 4. I loved it. Though I probably won't re-read this book, I will highly recommend it.


This book was published by Riverhead Books (a division of Penguin Books)
ISBN: 978-1-59448-950-1
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Double-N-Jenn, May 3, 2010 (view all comments by Double-N-Jenn)
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini gives you a completely different perspective on the country of Afghanistan and allows you to see the Middle Eastern culture with new eyes. The novel highlights the nation’s bloody past and the struggle of women against suppression through the stories of Laila and Mariam. Hosseini writes the book as a way to present to the reader a different Afghanistan that is hard to see in today’s society. The book has an excellent plot with an involving story that is gruesome yet necessary to convey the pain and suffering of the country and its people.
Mariam is the daughter of Jalil and Nana and was born a harami, a bastard child. Until the age of 15 she grows up loving her father and looking forward to every moment with him. However, when she finally leaves her Kulba to see him in Herat, she realizes that she is not accepted because of her status as a bastard child. After her mother’s death, she is placed in Jalil’s custody. Jalil, ashamed of having a harami child, forces Mariam to marry a brutish man named Rasheed in order to distance himself from her. Rasheed lives many miles away in Kabul and although he is kind to Mariam at first, he quickly turns on her when she can not give him a son. The violent clash between Rasheed and Mariam continues throughout the novel.
Laila also joins this struggle when she is made to marry Rasheed for the sake of her unborn child. However, her beginnings are very different from Mariam’s. Laila is raised by a supportive father who promotes her education and states, “you can be anything you want, Laila” (103). Although her mother doesn’t pay her much attention, she finds comfort in her friend Tariq, who ends up being her lover. Laila is surrounded by the tragedies of war. It takes her friend Giti, her parents, and forces Tariq and his family to move to Pakistan. After her parents’ death, she is forced to marry Rasheed in order to preserve the life of her and Tariq’s unborn child. This marriage, Laila states is a sacrifice that she had to make as a mother, “Laila already saw the sacrifices a mother had to make. Virtue was only the first” (196). Laila made this sacrifice knowing that she could not survive on her own and without male support.
One of the main themes of the novel is the suppression of women. The restriction of women is noted by the use of the burqa as both a symbol of suppression and a symbol of protection against the outside world. Although this symbol is usually only used to show restraint, Hosseini takes a different perspective on it. “And the burqa, she learned to her surprise, was also comforting. It was like a one-way window. Inside it, she was an observer…she no longer worried that people new…all the shameful secrets of her past” (66). Hosseini makes the people, the Taliban and Rasheed, the suppressors of the women, not the culture of the country. The country and the women seem to follow a paralleled plot of struggle. With every change in power come different restrictions or freedoms for women and more or less destruction of the country. Hosseini vividly describes the sound of the bombs and the horrible deaths caused by war that destroy the nation.
The images of war created by Hosseini are gruesome and violent and, combined with sex and harsh physical abuse, should limit this book for mature audiences. However, these elements also allow for a vivid picture of the tragedy of war that shadows the country of Afghanistan. Although the images of war and abuse created by Hosseini are quite brutal, they are not over exaggerated and therefore create an accurate perception of abuse and the war. However, the novel also provides another side to Afghanistan, the one that is filled with beauty and decent people. This side is usually unseen by society and not covered by the media. Hosseini’s use of imagery is profound in his description of the country. Hosseini seeks to make the Middle East and western society closer by creating these images of a different Afghanistan. Hosseini also attempts to close the distance of western and Middle Eastern societies by showing the similarities between the conflicting major religions. Many of the ideas from the Koran expressed in the novel are also in the Christian Bible.
The novel best portrays these ideas by Hosseini’s skillful writing. His use of imagery and tone produce involving characters for the reader to connect to. His detailed descriptions of the characters help to create the tone of the novel that allows the reader to feel with the characters. This ability to connect the readers to the characters allows readers to be more involved in the plot of the book. Hosseini’s use of foreshadow also contributes to the novel’s exciting plot. By foreshadowing certain events, the writer creates apprehension in the novel that keeps the reader guessing and anticipating the plot’s development.
Hosseini’s talent is prominently seen in A Thousand Splendid Suns and is a book worth reading. I would highly recommend this book, especially to those who don’t know the true Afghanistan or truly understand the nation’s struggle. This book will open your eyes to a culture that the media doesn’t show through a very involving story of love, life, death, and sorrow. Prepare for a book that you can’t put down.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781594489501
Author:
Hosseini, Khaled
Publisher:
Riverhead Hardcover
Subject:
General
Subject:
Afghanistan
Subject:
Families
Subject:
Fiction : Literary
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20091029
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8 x 5.22 x 0.98 in 0.69 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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A Thousand Splendid Suns: A Novel Used Hardcover
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$1.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Riverhead Hardcover - English 9781594489501 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Never mind the sophomore slump — this book devours that cliché. As well as illuminating the rich history and familial culture behind war-torn Afghanistan, A Thousand Splendid Suns is filled with authentic relationships and characters that are absolutely haunting.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Afghan-American novelist Hosseini follows up his bestselling The Kite Runner with another searing epic of Afghanistan in turmoil. The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through the lives of two women. Mariam is the scorned illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, forced at age 15 into marrying the 40-year-old Rasheed, who grows increasingly brutal as she fails to produce a child. Eighteen later, Rasheed takes another wife, 14-year-old Laila, a smart and spirited girl whose only other options, after her parents are killed by rocket fire, are prostitution or starvation. Against a backdrop of unending war, Mariam and Laila become allies in an asymmetrical battle with Rasheed, whose violent misogyny — 'There was no cursing, no screaming, no pleading, no surprised yelps, only the systematic business of beating and being beaten' — is endorsed by custom and law. Hosseini gives a forceful but nuanced portrait of a patriarchal despotism where women are agonizingly dependent on fathers, husbands and especially sons, the bearing of male children being their sole path to social status. His tale is a powerful, harrowing depiction of Afghanistan, but also a lyrical evocation of the lives and enduring hopes of its resilient characters." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "If A Thousand Splendid Suns is a little shaky as a work of literature, at least a reader feels that Hosseini has more at stake than where the book ends up on the bestseller list." (read the entire CSM review)
"Review A Day" by , "It's not that emotionally hardened (or what could fairly be called 'regular') men won't like this book. They just won't want to....This would be as painful as it sounds if it weren't for Hosseini's incredible storytelling. As it is, you can't help but be invested in the lives of these characters..." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "Unimaginably tragic, Hosseini's magnificent second novel is a sad and beautiful testament to both Afghani suffering and strength. Readers who lost themselves in The Kite Runner will not want to miss this unforgettable follow up."
"Review" by , "Hosseini barrels through each grim development unflinchingly, seeking illumination. Another artistic triumph, and surefire bestseller, for this fearless writer."
"Review" by , "[A] second novel as spectacular as Khaled Hosseini's mega-selling The Kite Runner, [that] could be the runaway hit of 2007....Hosseini tells this saddest of stories in achingly beautiful prose through stunningly heroic characters whose spirits somehow grasp the dimmest rays of hope."
"Review" by , "Hosseini's bewitching narrative captures the intimate details of life in a world where it's a struggle to survive, skillfully inserting this human story into the larger backdrop of recent history."
"Review" by , "What keep this novel vivid and compelling are Hosseini's eye for the textures of daily life and his ability to portray a full range of human emotions, from the smoldering rage of an abused wife to the early flutters of maternal love when a woman discovers she is carrying a baby."
"Review" by , "While Afghanistan has virtually disappeared from the headlines...A Thousand Splendid Suns offers all the crowd-pleasing appeal of his debut, with some star-crossed lovers thrown in for good measure. (Grade: B+)"
"Review" by , "The violence is as graphic as you would expect in any book that details the atrocities of war....A Thousand Splendid Suns will tear at your heart and make you better understand the legacy of violence our soldiers are fighting against in Afghanistan."
"Review" by , "[E]xceeds every expectation. This tough-to-put-down book leaves even a jaded reader crying, wincing and gasping at Laila and Mariam's agony — and triumphing at their fleeting happiness. If anything, Splendid Suns is more visceral and heart-wrenching than Kite Runner."
"Synopsis" by ,

After 103 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and with four million copies of The Kite Runner shipped, Khaled Hosseini returns with a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms his place as one of the most important literary writers today.

Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul--they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

"Synopsis" by ,

After 103 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and with four million copies of The Kite Runner shipped, Khaled Hosseini returns with a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms his place as one of the most important literary writers today.

Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul-they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

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