Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

This is one of the books that I have selected to read this year as part of my 2020 reading challenge.

This is a story about two characters, Mariam and Lila from different worlds that are brought together in the war-torn Kabul, Afghanistan. Both female characters lose family members, and are extremely poor. They are both forced into arranged marriages but to the same man who is at least 40 years older than them. The man Rasheed is abusive and mistreats both Mariam and Laila.  Throughout the story Mariam and Laila learn from one another and build a friendship with a reality of both having to deal with the struggles of raising a family and finding happiness with all the violence and events that are going on around them. This book opens the reader’s eyes to the kind of oppression that the women in Afghanistan face and how controlled they are by their male counterparts. In the end, it turns out to be a story about true friendship and how much some people will do to protect that friendship with a surprising tragic ending.

a thousand splendid suns 2

What I liked about this book is the way the author spent no expense in his development of his characters. I particularly liked Mariam because through her story I was able to get a glimpse of how the war has affected the Afghanistan. Some of the scenes were gory especially the part where Laila lost her parents, this really got to me and for a minute or two I could feel her pain and shock. Listening to the audio book also made my experience more vivid and real so I also liked that.

What I didn’t really like about this book was the amount of violence that took place especially between Mariam and Rasheed before Laila came into the picture.

Overall I think it was a really good book. I recommend this book to all historical fiction lovers.

Rating: 4 Stars

Published: June 1st, 2007 by Riverhead Books

Pages: 372

Genre: Historical fiction


The Author: Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. In 1970 Hosseini and his family moved to Iran where his father worked for the Embassy of Afghanistan in Tehran. In 1973 Hosseini’s family returned to Kabul, and Hosseini’s youngest brother was born in July of that year.
In 1976, when Hosseini was 11 years old, Hosseini’s father obtained a job in Paris, France, and moved the family there. They were unable to return to Afghanistan because of the Saur Revolution in which the PDPA communist party seized power through a bloody coup in April 1978. Instead, a year after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in 1980 they sought political asylum in the United States and made their residence in San Jose, California.
Hosseini graduated from Independence High School in San Jose in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1988. The following year, he entered the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. in 1993. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in 1996. He practiced medicine for over ten years, until a year and a half after the release of The Kite Runner.
Hosseini is currently a Goodwill Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He has been working to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through the Khaled Hosseini Foundation. The concept for the foundation was inspired by the trip to Afghanistan that Hosseini made in 2007 with UNHCR.
He lives in Northern California with his wife, Roya, and their two children (Harris and Farah).


estherEsther Garricks is a contributor to the RovingBookwormNG blog. She has recently graduated from high school and hopes to study English Literature at University. She is also an artist who is passionate about making comics and drawing faces. She loves reading (more like listening) to books for leisure and her favorite genres are thrillers, mystery, horror and fantasy. Heir of Ashes is her second review for this blog.




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