Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Housseini

Rating: 5 stars
Target audience: Young adult and adult

   This is the kind of book that you have a love-hate relationship with. You will love it because of the amazing and unpredictable storyline and the way the writer handles his sentences; with a flourish. The story sucks you in and leaves you a bundle of nerves at times. You go through all kinds of stages from outrage to pleasant surprise. I mean, what are you supposed to do when you encounter passages like:

A mother's advice to her daughter

A middle-aged man defending his decision to marry a newly orphaned 16-year old girl

At the labour ward

   But you might hate it because it shows you just how ignorant you are of certain world events, despite all the fanfare about information being at our fingertips. Today we know more about the Kardashians than we do about what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is really about! And though this book is fiction we've heard reports of some of the plot points happening to actual people. That just makes it more real.

    This book reminds you that there was a time when it wasn't a crime to be a woman in Afghanistan. There was a time when not every male in close proximity had been feed misogyny as soon as they could walk and talk. There was a time when civil war was the last thing on the minds of the Afghani people. And this is the story this book tells. All the way from Afghanistan's golden age to what we know of it now. And yes,  the author does build characters who you will want to hug and shed tears for...and others who you will want to punch in the face a thousand times over!

   This is the story of Mariam and Laila. Two women literally a generation apart with up-brinings that couldn't be more different. One had parents who were ashamed of her and in no way tried to empower her; while the other had parents who loved her and were very liberal and modern. But somehow they both end-up in an abusive marriage and at some point become the best of friends despite their circumstances. It's through their eyes that we see history unfold. No media framing, just a third party view on how war affects the everyday person.

   I suppose that after this I should find myself a copy of The Kite-runner'', also by the same author ( I know I'm a bit late,  don't judge me). I'll even put off watching the movie till after I read the book. Anyway, my parting sentiments would be that: We should all read more books like this.



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