A Thousand Splendid Suns by Kahled Hosseini is set in Afghanistan. Miriam and Laila have vastly different backgrounds. Miriam was the illegitimate daughter of a serving woman and her employer. When she confronts her father’s legitimate family she is married off at the tender age of 15 to a brutal man. Laila is the beloved daughter of a teacher, she is educated and encouraged to believe in herself. Their lives will intersect as violence tears their country apart. Hosseini captures vividly the quiet heroism of the women and the devastation of their country. The Kite Runner, Kahled Hosseini’s first book, is a powerful look at the suffering caused in Afghanistan by the Taliban. It is a coming of age story of two boys, a tale of betrayal and redemption. Amir is the son of a wealthy business man, Hassan the son of a servant to Amir’s father. They are childhood playmates and companions until a brutal attack and a moment’s cowardice severs their relationship. Years later Amir will have the opportunity to atone, but it could cost his life.
— Deon Stonehouse
Spring/Summer '09 Reading Group List
“A Thousand Splendid Suns, from the author of The Kite Runner, is a revealing story of the plight of two Afghan women, brought together by loss and war, both of whom you will come to love.”
— Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC
Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, the #1 New York Times bestseller A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.
“Just as good, if not better, than Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling first book, The Kite Runner.”—Newsweek
Khaled Hosseini returns with a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms his place as one of the most important literary writers today.
Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul-they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.
A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.
About the Author
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and moved to the United States in 1980. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and And the Mountains Echoed. He is A U.S. Goodwill Envoy to the United Nations Refugee Agency, and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit that provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
“A Thousand Splendid Suns is an ambitious work. Once again the setting is Afghanistan, but this time [Hosseini] has taken the last 33 years of that country’s tumultuous history of war and oppression and told it on an intimate scale, through the lives of two women.”—The New York Times
“Spectacular. . . . Hosseini’s writing makes our hearts ache, our stomachs clench and our emotions reel. . . . Hosseini mixes the experiences of these women with imagined scenarios to create a fascinating microcosm of Afghan family life. He shows us the interior lives of the anonymous women living beneath identity-diminishing burqas... Hosseini writes in gorgeous and stirring language of the natural beauty and colorful cultural heritage of his native Afghanistan. . . . Hosseini tells this saddest of stories in achingly beautiful prose through stunningly heroic characters whose spirits somehow grasp the dimmest rays of hope.”—USA Today
“Just as good, if not better, than Hosseini’s best-selling first book, The Kite Runner”—Newsweek
“Compelling”—New York Magazine
“Hosseini revisits Afghanistan for a compelling story that gives voice to the agonies and hopes of another group of innocents caught up in a war. . . . Mesmerizing . . . A Thousand Splendid Suns is the painful, and at times violent, yet ultimately hopeful story of two women’s inner lives. Hosseini’s bewitching narrative captures the intimate details of life in a world where it’s a struggle to survive, skillfully inserting this human story into the larger backdrop of recent history.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Hosseini . . . has followed his debut novel with another work of strong storytelling and engaging characters. . . . The story pulses with life. . . . Khaled Hosseini is simply a marvelously moving storyteller.”—San Jose Mercury News
“Hosseini’s story . . . rings true as a universal story about victims of cruelty and those who lack the most fundamental of human rights. . . . Hosseini’s work is uplifting, enlightening, universal. The author’s love for his characters and for his country is palpable. In the end, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a love letter to a country and to a people. It is a celebration of endurance and survival in the face of unspeakable tragedy. This is a love song to anyone who has ever had a broken heart and to anyone who has ever felt powerless and yet still dares to dream. And yes, Hosseini has done it again.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“The novel is beautifully written with descriptive details that will haunt you long after you finish reading it.”—Dallas Morning News
“This [novel] tells the startling story of domestic adversaries who discover that survival in a horrific world is nearly impossible without compassion, love and solidarity. . . Hosseini’s prose . . . can stun a reader with its powerful, haunting images.”—Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Absolutely compelling on every level. It’s nearly impossible for a novel—a work of fantasy and fabrication—to deliver a formidable blow, a pounding of the senses, a reeling so staggering that we are convinced the characters and their dilemmas are genuine. Such a persuasion is particularly difficult when the setting is Afghanistan, a country and culture many see as too strange for recognition, for empathy. But that’s what Khaled Hosseini does again and again with A Thousand Splendid Suns.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“Hosseini has the storytelling gift . . . [A Thousand Splendid Suns] offers us the sweep of historic upheavals narrated with the intimacy of family and village life. . . . What keeps this novel vivid and compelling are Hosseini’s eye for the textures of daily life and his ability to portray a full range of human emotions, from the smoldering rage of an abused wife to the early flutters of maternal love when a woman discovers she is carrying a baby. . . . Hosseini’s illuminating book [is] a worthy sequel to The Kite Runner.”—Los Angeles Times
“Many of us learned much from The Kite Runner. There is much more to be learned from A Thousand Splendid Suns . . . a brave, honorable, big-hearted book”—The Washington Post Book World
“The author’s fans won’t be disappointed with A Thousand Splendid Suns—if anything, this book shows at even better advantage Hosseini’s storytelling gifts.”—New York Daily News
“Hosseini has created two enormously winning female characters in Mariam and Laila, Afghan women born into very different circumstances but who have the same problems.”—Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“[Hosseini] is a writer of unique sensitivities. . . . Hosseini embraces an old-fashioned storytelling unconcerned with literary hipness, unafraid of sentimentality, unworried about the sort of Dickensian coincidences that most contemporary American writers consider off-limits. . . . We are lucky . . . to have a writer of Hosseini’s storytelling ambitions interpreting his culture and history for us with another large-hearted novel. . . . Despite the unjust cruelties of our world, the heroines of A Thousand Splendid Suns do endure, both on the page and in our imagination.”—Miami Herald