Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Publisher: Bloomsbury 2008

Rating: 5/5

I was really, really, REALLY looking forward to reading this book after reading Kite Runner earlier on this year. These are books that I had been looking at for a long time but for one reason or another they never made it to the top of my reading pile. How bloody glad am I that they finally got to the top! AMAZING!

You start by learning about the childhood of Mariam that has been raised on the edges of a city in Afghanistan as she was the product of an affair between her father, a rich business man, and one of his ‘help’, Nana, her mother. Mariams life, like her mothers, is filled with a series of horrific events and when she hits fifteen she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila. 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.

The book explores the violence and chaos of the Afghan civil war following the Soviet withdraw, with conditions getting so bad that we as a reader are not surprised the Afghans first welcomed the Taliban as at the point where they captured Kabul, at least they would impose strict law and order in the place of non whatsoever. Life becomes even worse for women under the Taliban, whatever independence they once had is now gone, millions flee to the refugee camps in Pakistan. Women giving birth in crude hospitals without pain killers is just one example given, the Taliban refuse most foreign medical aid and give women as little as possible.

There are two main male characters who are total opposites of each-other, there’s Rasheed a bully who dominates and controls our two female protagonists, both in their different ways suffer miserably under his cruelty. The other character is Tariq, a knight in shinning armour.

One critique I’d make though is the character of Mirarim, she pretty much is the stereotypical passive, long suffering, accepting type who basically gives up her life at the end. The book also does beats you over the head with it’s message, every other page is an example of a woman being treated poorly, or a character telling you women are wretched things in Afghanistan.

I read this whilst way in the North Yorkshire Moors and I couldn’t get enough of it sitting an reading by torch light in my tent as I just couldn’t bare to put it down. I was happy, sad, furious and disappointed at different points throughout this book and would recommend it to anyone. It should be a must read.

Favourite quotes:

“You see, some things I can teach you. Some you learn from books. But there are things that, well, you have to see and feel.”

“Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.”

Have you read this book before?
Did you love it as much as I do?
Do you have any book recommendations based on the fact that I loved this book?

– happy reading x



12 thoughts on “Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

  1. Hello Hannah! This is one of my favourite books too. The characters in the story feel so ” alive” that when I think of Mariam, it feels like I am thinking of someone who was actually alive and I feel so sad and angry about her hard life. There is one book I would recommend because it is as moving and powerful as this one (in my opinion), it is by Anita Amirrezvani and the title is
    The Blood Of Flowers. I loved it! Hope you love it too 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I totally agree, she was so easy to root for and all of the characters felt like people that you knew! I can’t wait to read this as I love books that are powerful and recommended. Thank you SO much!! ☺

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Finally made it to your blog. Thanks for the link.

    I have read all three books by Hosseinni and this one was my favourite. I get what you mean about Mariam. Her story was heartbreaking. I read this book about two years ago but I still remember a particular scene involving pebbles. Broke my heart but I too loved this book. Fab review 🙂


    1. Yay – I’m sorry it was so tricky to get here! I’m glad you made it! I loved it as well, I have read 2 and have one on my bookcase still to read 🙂 I agree that is is a book that’s going to stay with me!


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