Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Plot Summary (Taken from Goodreads): A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years, from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding, that puts the violence, fear, hope and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives, the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness, are inextricable from the history playing out around them.
My Review: One of the best aspects of this book is how it almost reads like non-fiction. Since it is set during the last thirty years and based on events you hear about in the news, it is like the author is putting you right in the middle of those events. Also, the way the characters lives are documented feels like you are reading a journal in the third person point-of-view.
Another good aspect of the book is the characters. Most of the women and some of the men in this book are some of the most resilient and brave characters ever. Also, the two main characters provide stark contrast that makes the reader think about where their own lives are.
In addition, the author’s writing style brings the story to life. The way he sometimes uses metaphors makes certain moments more emotionally palpable. A few sentences like this goes, “Each snowflake was a sigh heard by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world. All the sighs drifted up into the sky, gathered into clouds, then broke into tiny pieces that silently fell on the people below. As a reminder of how women suffer.”
The only flaw of the book is that because it focuses on the women, some of the male characters were flat. Even though the male characters were secondary characters, there could have been more depth to them. In particular, the character Rasheed deserved a backstory so he wasn’t just a vile man to hate.
Overall, this was a heartbreaking yet beautiful book. I recommend this book to any fan of The Kite Runner and avid readers of historical fiction.