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A Thousand Splendid Suns [Hardcover]

Khaled Hosseini
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)

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Library Binding CDN $24.58  
Hardcover, May 22 2007 --  
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Book Description

May 22 2007

After more than two years on the bestseller lists and over four million copies in print, Khaled Hosseini returns with a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel of enormous contemporary relevance.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years—from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding—that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives—the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness—are inextricable from the history playing out around them.

Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a remarkable chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. It is a striking, heart-wrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love—a stunning accomplishment.


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From Amazon

It's difficult to imagine a harder first act to follow than The Kite Runner: a debut novel by an unknown writer about a country many readers knew little about that has gone on to have over four million copies in print worldwide. But when preview copies of Khaled Hosseini's second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, started circulating at Amazon, readers reacted with a unanimous enthusiasm that few of us could remember seeing before. As special as The Kite Runner was, those readers said, A Thousand Splendid Suns is more so, bringing Hosseini's compassionate storytelling and his sense of personal and national tragedy to a tale of two women that is weighted equally with despair and grave hope.

From Publishers Weekly

Atossa Leoni, who is German-born of Afghan ancestry, was clearly chosen because she can pronounce all the Afghan words—a big plus, but it's the only plus in this bad reading. Dropping her voice on the last word of every sentence, her phrasing is regularly rendered ungrammatical by breaks at the wrong points. Her narrow vocal range makes for a dull and often difficult listening experience. Despite the reader, the book holds the listener thanks to Hosseini's riveting story—an in-depth exploration of Afghan society in the three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban cruelty. He impels us to empathize with and admire those most victimized by Afghan history and culture—women. Mariam, a 15-year-old bastard whose mother commits suicide, is married off to 40-year-old Rasheed, who abuses her brutally, especially after she has several miscarriages. At 60, Rasheed takes in 14-year-old Laila, whose parents were blown up by stray bombs. He soon turns violent with her. Although Laila is united with her childhood beloved, the potential return of the Taliban always shadows their happiness.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sins of the Fathers Are Visited on Everyone March 21 2007
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS tells the wonderful, intensely moving story of how two modern Afghan women overcome the great challenges that have faced women in Afghanistan and rise above their victimization. Khaled Hosseini has succeeded in capturing many important historical and contemporary themes in a way that will make your heart ache again and again. Why will your reaction be so strong? It's because you'll identify closely with the suffering of almost all the characters, a reaction that's very rare to a modern novel.

In Part One, you meet Miriam at age five as she learns that she is a harami (an illegitimate child). Miriam's wealthy father, Jalil, had seduced a housekeeper, Miriam's mother, Nana, six years earlier and now provides for both of them in a remote shack where he can keep a low profile. Despite his concern about his reputation, Jalil adores the attention that Miriam devotes to him. All proceeds in an artificial and harsh way until one day Miriam decides to demand her father's attention. The consequences shape her world for the rest of her life.

In Part Two, the story moves to focus on Laila, who was born to Miriam's acquaintance, Fariba, at the end of Part One. Laila's rearing is almost totally the opposite of Miriam's. Laila is loved by both her parents with whom she lives and has many chances to develop her knowledge and skills. Laila lives in Kabul while Miriam grew up in the countryside outside of Herat. Laila is beautiful while Miriam is plainer. They also grow up in different times: Miriam is old enough to be Laila's mother. Miriam never had a male friend while growing up, while Laila is fascinated by the one-legged Tariq. All is going well for Laila until the war intrudes to send her life off into an unexpected direction.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS tells the wonderful, intensely moving story of how two modern Afghan women overcome the great challenges that have faced women in Afghanistan and rise above their victimization. Khaled Hosseini has succeeded in capturing many important historical and contemporary themes in a way that will make your heart ache again and again. Why will your reaction be so strong? It's because you'll identify closely with the suffering of almost all the characters, a reaction that's very rare to a modern novel.

In Part One, you meet Miriam at age five as she learns that she is a harami (an illegitimate child). Miriam's wealthy father, Jalil, had seduced a housekeeper, Miriam's mother, Nana, six years earlier and now provides for both of them in a remote shack where he can keep a low profile. Despite his concern about his reputation, Jalil adores the attention that Miriam devotes to him. All proceeds in an artificial and harsh way until one day Miriam decides to demand her father's attention. The consequences shape her world for the rest of her life.

In Part Two, the story moves to focus on Laila, who was born to Miriam's acquaintance Fariba at the end of Part One. Laila's rearing is almost totally the opposite of Miriam's. Laila is loved by both her parents with whom she lives and has many chances to develop her knowledge and skills. Laila lives in Kabul while Miriam grew up in the countryside outside of Herat. Laila is beautiful while Miriam is plainer. They also grow up in different times: Miriam is old enough to be Laila's mother. Miriam never had a male friend while growing up, while Laila is fascinated by the one-legged Tariq. All is going well for Laila until the war intrudes to send her life off into an unexpected direction.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind the burqa March 23 2007
By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAME TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
With his second novel, Khaled Hosseini proves beyond a shadow of doubt that "The Kite Runner" was no flash in the Afghan pan. Once again set in Afghanistan, the story twists and turns its way through the turmoil and chaos that ensued following the fall of the monarchy in 1973, but focuses mainly on the lives of two women, thrown together by fate.

The story starts decades before the Taliban came into power in 1996, and ends after the era of Taliban rule. The main character begins life as a "harami" - the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy man and one of his housekeepers. Forced to live in a small shack with her emotionally disturbed and possibly epileptic mother, Mariam lives for Thursdays, the day her father comes to see her, bearing small gifts and showering her with the affection she craves. Naturally, Mariam wants to be a part of her father's life and fit in with his legitimate family, but when she attempts to force his hand, she is rebuffed and feels betrayed by his reaction. Her impetuous actions bring an end to the life she has known for fifteen long years, and lead to an arranged marriage to a much older man, a shoemaker, whose views on the rights of women mirror those that the Taliban would soon enforce.

During the time that Mariam is dutifully enduring her unhappy marriage, a neighbor gives birth to a baby girl, whom they name Laila. By her ninth birthday, Laila has grown up to be a beautiful child with blonde hair, turquoise-green eyes, high cheekbones and dimples. Unfortunately, her mother lives only for the day her older sons will return home from fighting the jihad, and is consumed by the vision of a free Afghanistan.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A woman's perspective of Afghanistan
As always Hosseini delivers a rich tale, this time Afghanistan from a woman's perspective. Like The Kite Runner and And the Mountains Echoed, the novel does not shy away from the... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Deb Nielsen
5.0 out of 5 stars No One Can Break Your Heart Quite like Khaled Hosseini
Hosseini never falls short of breaking my heart. This book has instantly become one of my favourites. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Asia
4.0 out of 5 stars I didn't get into the " Kite Runner", maybe ...
I didn't get into the " Kite Runner",maybe I need to go back and read it again but this novel by Hosseini I found to be a page turner.
Published 15 days ago by Barry Hatt
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful,gripping story i
Wonderful, could not put it down. All characters were so real. Called my friends and they are all buying it and getting the same overwhelming feelings that I did.
Published 1 month ago by patricia
5.0 out of 5 stars The book was really interesting because you get to see ...
The book was really interesting because you get to see the perspective of two different woman in a culture I was not familiar with. Read more
Published 2 months ago by mirela
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
nice
Published 3 months ago by sammy
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thousand Splendid Suns.
This book was very well written. Kept you turning the pages. Couldn't put it down. Awesome read. This book lets you see how women live in the worst relationships.
Published 4 months ago by francien yeast
5.0 out of 5 stars he knows what he's writing
a heart wrenching story that can move you deeply! I believe Khalid Hosseini has a gift of story telling... a must read!
Published 5 months ago by Samreen Ahsan
5.0 out of 5 stars better than the Kite Runner
I simple LOVED this book. It is definitely a page turner. I read it in a couple of evenings and could not wait until I had a couple minutes to go back to it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Chantal Soucy
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
The delivery was as promised. The book in excellent shape. I haven't read the book yet but my sister did and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am looking forward to reading it.
Published 5 months ago by Gail Boucher
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