I’m excited to say Khaled Hosseini has done it again! I just finished Hosseini’s second novel (the first being the excellent text-cum-movie: The Kite Runner), A Thousand Splendid Suns and it was awesome!
A Thousand Splendid Suns demonstrates the innate ability of humans to overcome the oppression of social order and war in order to find their own sense of worth and value. Following the lives of two women who have nothing in common but guilt for their own existences, the book brings to life the plight of women in Afghanistan during the past 40 years. The story begins in the 1960s and follows two women, Mariam and Laila, through the overthrow of Communism, the constant fighting between warlords, and the institutionalized sexism of the Taliban.
Hosseini has an amazing knack for story telling. His use of foreshadowing and ability to develop not just believable, but lovable and sometimes equally despicable, characters sets his novels apart from most. A Thousand Splendid Suns is one of those remarkable stories that encompass true friendship, lost (and found!) love, and the struggles that individuals in war torn countries face.
We in the United States hear frequently of Afghanistan in the news. We know the realities of Al Qaeda and the Taliban and terrorist training camps, but it is rare that we are exposed to the reality of Afghanistan as a country with a rich history and culture that has been beaten down repeatedly by war and violence. It is rare that we are exposed to the pain that millions have bared, not just since 2001, but for generations. Khaled Hosseini does not just tell us of Afghanistan’s recent history, he shows us how time has impacted the individual lives of its citizens. He turns the anonymous masses we see on the nightly news into souls that we can identify with, giving us a connection for compassion and a greater understanding of the complex political history that has led Afghanistan to the center stage of the 21st century.
And what’s great is you can support worldwide literacy initiatives by purchasing A Thousand Splendid Suns as well as Hosseini’s first novel, The Kite Runner from www.betterworld.com (click covers)