This is the third book I have read by Hosseini. His masterpiece The Kite Runner is my favorite and this work A Thousand Splendid Suns comes in a close second. He writes in a hauntingly beautiful style that brings his characters alive, in a country few of us have or will ever visit.
In A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini once again transports his readers to Afghanistan through a very personal story of two women and their struggles to survive. We are introduced to Mariam in the first page of the book. A bright and inspired five-year old girl who is still naive to her plight in life as a female, a child born out-of-wedlock and a poverty-stricken child with no prospects. She is known as a “mugwort”, a weed, something tossed aside. The trajectory of Mariam’s life is in other people’s hands, unfortunately for Mariam those making the decisions do not have any love for her.
Laila is born nearly a generation after Mariam, on the night that life changed for everyone in Afghanistan in April 1978 when the Soviet communists invaded. The baby girl named Laila, meaning Night Beauty, arrived to her proud parents Fariba and Hakim.
Laila’s prospects are better than Mariam ever imagined for herself, but Laila’s life will also take a horrific turn when she is only 14 years old and the Taliban invades Afghanistan. After years of war, Laila has lost her two brothers who were resistance fighter, and then in one terrible moment both her parents are killed when a bomb falls on their house.
Mariam and Laila’s lives collide and their destinies are entwined forever, as each woman realizes they will need each other just to survive. The war rages on, thousand disappear and die, and in the end Mariam and Laila who are more like sisters or mother and daughter after their years together, find the true meaning of family does not always mean blood relations. During a truly terrible time of war and death, this book is both heartbreaking and inspiring with a message of love, friendship, sorrow, abuse and perseverance.
A masterful work.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Five Stars for A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Read last week’s review of Inheritance by Dani Shapiro