A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.
I did not enjoy The Kite Runner so was apprehensive when I started this book. I didn’t need to be – I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is harrowing and disturbing and completely readable. Hosseini writes a good, moving story. With terrorism such a real issue in the 21st century I felt he is brave writing this book as it features not only the Soviets, but the Taliban and 9/11. This could be seen as a controversial thing to do, but I felt Hosseini dealt with these horrors in a commendable way.
Hosseini writes some great characters. I felt something towards all of them. I felt for Mariam and what she faced in Herat before moving to Kabul, and my heart broke with Laila’s many times. And I did not like Rasheed – what a horrid man. I wanted him to be punished; he really sparked some anger in me – which I think is a sign of a good character and a well written book.
This book does contain a whole host of horrors, but not really ones I was expecting. War is prominent throughout the majority of the book, but it is not all Taliban based. The first half of the book sees the Soviets in Afghanistan. The horrors faced by the women mainly occurred at home at the hands of Rasheed as well. I felt that the blurb was a bit misleading in this respect. It is a bit of a disturbing read, but I found myself wanting to know what happened, and actually it didn’t take me long to read. I don’t think this book is for the weak hearted, but it is definitely up there with my other high-rated books. I think this story will stay with me for a long time.