A Thousand Splendid Suns: A Novel
by Khaled Hosseini
At Least the Cover's Not Pink
A review by Peter Martin
Before you tell someone you're reading Khaled Hosseini's second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, be sure she's a woman. If there's none around and you're still bursting to summarize, it might -- might -- be okay to tell a man. You just have to make sure his heart's on his sleeve. And that it's bleeding profusely.
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. That's because someone with the last name Blume couldn't come up with a girlier premise: Two women of different generations learn about life, love and friendship over thirty tumultuous years in Afghanistan. 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 as they endure Soviet invasion, the Taliban, and having chunks of family members land on them after a missile attack. So when they end up married to the same oppressive husband, a guy who makes one of them chew gravel after she serves him undercooked rice, well, you feel for them. And you keep reading. You just don't tell anyone you're doing either.
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