Book Review: “A Thousand Splendid Suns”


Sydney Edwards

A photo of the cover of “A Thousand Splendid Suns.”

“A Thousand Splendid Suns” is a moving novel by Khaled Hosseini.

Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan but moved to the United States in 1980. 

He now resides in San Jose, Ca. with his wife Roya Hossieni and child Farah Hossieni.

His most notable work is his first novel, “The Kite Runner.” Additionally, he has written three other books. 

I had originally read “The Kite Runner,” which takes place in Hossieni’s hometown of Kabul, Afghanistan, and I was amazed at Hosseini’s execution of implementing moral lessons, as well as a look into the hardships of Afghan people in their war-filled environment. 

The main character of “The Kite Runner” is a man, so many of the events that impact him are related to the expectations and normalities that males encounter during their life in Kabul.

However, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” contains two female leads, which causes the book to take a different tone than “Kite Runner.”

“A Thousand Splendid Suns” reflects on the toxic culture of demeaning women that still exists in some countries today.

Hosseini did an excellent job of putting his audience in the shoes of his two main characters by providing vivid descriptions of the hardship and abuse they encountered throughout.

As a quick synopsis, the first lead introduced is named Mariam. She is the daughter of a woman who worked for a wealthy man and was born into a situation of scandal as her mother’s boss had an affair with her that led to her being impregnated. 

She is isolated from society from the start and is looked down upon by others as a disgrace. When her mother passes, she is forced to move in with her father who shortly marries her away, at age 15, to a man decades older than her. 

In this situation, she has to survive under cruel conditions, which shines a light on the corrupted portions of forced marriages.

The second lead introduced is a young beautiful girl who resides in Kabul with much better living conditions than Mariam. She has a loving family, great friends, and even a potential significant other. Unfortunately, all of this is abruptly taken away from her when war strikes in Kabul. 

Due to this, she must learn how to live in the heartless world without her companions by her side.

This novel provided me with a different perspective of the world that I was not fully aware of before.

Though emotional, it is a great novel, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in putting themselves in the shoes of a woman who has been affected by the ongoing wars in Afghanistan.