A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

One line and only one came to my mind when I was done with this book.

Khaled Hosseini, with The Kite Runner, you had my curiosity, but with A Thousand Splendid Suns, you have my attention!! (Courtesy: Tarantino + DiCaprio 😉 )

An amazing book! Not a single dull moment.

I have not been to Afghanistan. If The Kite Runner gave one a glimpse into what living in Afghanistan was like, this book goes a step further and literally transports you to the streets of Kabul. Though the Buddhas of Bamiyan are a thing of the past, while I was reading the book, I really did feel the wind whispering secrets into my ears.

Not surprisingly, the title of the book comes from a translation of the poem Kabul (author – Saib e Tabrizi) by Josephine Davis.

“Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye

Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs

And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls”

The book indeed takes you to the Kabul of yore.

A Thousand Splendid Suns explores about the lives of women, particularly the two women protagonists, in a war ravaged Afghanistan. On the one hand we have Mariam, who lives her entire life (almost) not really knowing what happiness is, or what love is. Then we have Laila, an educated girl, who grows up to watch her world shattered by a shower of missiles, throwing her life from the bosom of felicity into the clutches of torment. The story revolves around the lives of these two women, who through the most unlikeliest unfortunate (or was it fortunate?) of circumstances, are thrown into each other’s company. The bond that they develop forms the crux of this gripping and poignant tale.

There were many instances in the book, which made me close it. Not because it was dull or boring! Not at all! But because the incidents in the book were so heart-wrenching that I just had to close the book, draw a couple of deep breaths; wipe my tears – only to reopen the book and continue from where I left.

When all hope seems to be lost, a saviour emerges to save the oppressed from the hold of tyranny – only to end up becoming tyrannous himself. And every time such a saviour emerges, the hopes of the people go up in a crescendo, only to come crashing down. That in short is the story of Afghanistan for you!

There are many more characters, each of whom makes their presence felt. Of them, my favourite would be Tariq. Now as to why Tariq is my favourite – this one line from him is reason enough: “I will follow you to the ends of the world.

The rest, I leave it up to you. You can choose to read the book, or not. Believe me. It will be time well spent if you do decide to give it a try!!


Favourites from the book:

Line– “Love was a damaging mistake and its accomplice, hope, a treacherous illusion”

Character– Mariam!! No hesitation there.

But ya.. Laila and Tariq too.

Takeaways– Girl-power! The power of endurance of women! How we will go to any extent to protect the ones we love!

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