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Thousand Splendid Suns (Book Review)

I had Finished reading Thousand splendid suns about 5 years ago. This is the review I had written in my old blog. Re-posting on the new one. The story spans roughly over 3 decades. It’s story of hope, humanity, compassion, empathy and spirit of humans. The 2 main characters are Mariam and Laila. 2 women, generations apart, whose life cross as they become wives of same man under different circumstances but not happily in either case. Yet its a story of how their relationship shape to of a mother and daughter…. their inner journey. Their outer journey. Their journey in the time when their country was war-torn. Things were not same before late 60s in Afghanistan. in 40s 50s and 60s women’s could go to school, had freedom, etc. In early 70’s to 2003 how big was the struggle in these 3 odd decades for women in Afghanistan. It’s not as violent as I thought it would be given that it takes place during the war in Afghanistan and there is hope, but the story will shake you to the core. You have people living a regular life, they go to work, they fall in love, they have a family, they make mistakes, they try to atone for their mistakes and then war hits and life as they know it changes within the blink of an eye. It’s not a story about war though it’s a story about people from different walks of life trying to go about the business of living as best as they can and trying to find a tiny corner of happiness. I appreciate Hosseini’s portrayal of a part of the world that is under so much scrutiny lately. Afghanistan, and the city of Kabul where the story takes place, have a long history of wars and occupations which result in a great chasm between different ethnic tribes, Islam, economic classes and gender. Hosseini uses this novel to tell the story of Afghani women and the hardships that face them with each regime change. It’ll rip out your heart, have you crying buckets and buckets of tears while marveling at the triumph of the human spirit through severe and virtually unimaginable adversity as well as pure hell. The writing is absolutely beautiful. The pictures he paints with his words are so vivid that everything from the fun everyday life to the squalor that war brings to the ordinary person just flashes before your eyes like a movie. When you read, you can actually live the city of Kabul, house, neighborhood etc of its characters. You can imagine their struggle, their pain. There are some parts that have no doubt happened to many people but to think that any of this is even remotely possible will just kill you especially the parts about what a mother will do to save her children. As a woman, I feel blessed to have been given confidence and opportunities. I truly cannot imagine what it would be like to live under the conditions the women in this book live under. I am grateful to be born to the family I was born to and in a country which allows me to live the kind of life I choose.

When you read this, you will be in utter shock of how people live in war-torn countries. The regular life that you and me live in is like hope to them, someday, it will be possible. Can you imagine rockets and blasts and curfews happening everday for decades? How do you think people can live and find some tiny bit of happiness there? That’s what the author Khaled Hossieni has portrayed in this book. Awesome read!!

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