Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns


Helen Peng

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini

Helen Peng, Student LIfe Editor

Most people read “A Thousand Splendid Suns” after delving into the emotional roller-coaster called “The Kite Runner.” I know because I was one of those people. “A Thousand Splendid Suns” is Khaled Hosseini’s second child after his first born, “The Kite Runner,” and understandably, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” is often overshadowed by her award-winning brother, although arguably not rightly so.

Both written by the talented hands of Hosseini in the same historical context, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” and “The Kite Runner” are very different books. While The Kiter Runner focuses on a single character, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” is made up of the stories of several characters over a wider time interval that all intertwine into a complex and beautiful plot. As a female, I greatly appreciated the deep feminist message in “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” though I do admit “The Kite Runner” was a more well-written and, even, emotionally exhausting book. My point is, don’t come into reading “A Thousand Splendid Suns” with “The Kite Runner” still resting in the back of your mind. This book deserves a clean slate and curious mindset.

And if you have no idea what “The Kite Runner” is or even what I’m talking about, then you are to a great start. A book about truth, love, and the shadows of society makes for a heart-wrenching and empowering work. While “A Thousand Splendid Suns” rushes into the issues of socially and culturally suppressed Muslim females, starting with the stories illegitimate daughter of a unfaithful husband, a teenager being married off to a man twice her years, and wives being sexually abused and kept from their rightful education. The plot of the whole book is shadowed by the violence and abuse of man on women, not only directly, but also by the stigma and prejudice of the Taliban and Afghan society.

If you’re a raging feminist, this book is for you. If you are politically aware of the war in the Middle East, this book is for you. If you are for the stories of those who are not heard, this book is for you.

Hossieni is wise and understand the power of human emotion as he certainly uses this to his advantage. So when you pick up your copy of “A Thousand Splendid Suns” or download it onto your electronic device, grab a blanket and perhaps a box of tissues and prepare to be sucked into the lives and minds of the stories that are about to be told.