Friday, September 21, 2007

A Thousand Splendid Suns

This book by Khaled Hosseini will surely sell well because of the success of his other novel, 'The Kite Runner'.

By itself, I liked the title, its very optimistic. Its from a poem about Afghanistan, in which the poet proclaims the place to be like 'A thousand splendid suns'. But the picture on the cover is very well chosen too, as it shows that so many suns, though splendid, will not necessarily mean a splendid life; as they will also be associated with arid heat, desert dryness, and difficulties.

The story lucidly narrates the tale of three women belonging to three different generations, and how each one firsts hopes for a good life, and then slowly sees her aspirations as well as her life fade into oblivion.
The basic theme is : Nothing changes in Afghanistan... no matter what the ruling party is, or what the age is, or what is going on in the world. Life of women is always the same...oppressed, helpless and hopelessly dependent on the men in their life. A bit disappointing, as you want Mariam to be happy, and later on even Laila.. you feel anger at the way men (especially Rasheed) dominate their life, and manipulate them by force or by lies to behave as their slaves.

I couldn't even be entirely happy for Laila in the end, as I don't see how going back and living in the same place, plus dragging your understanding husband there, helps you forget your traumatic past.

Overall, this book is a good read for those who are curious about how people in this part of the world live. It also makes one appreciate the equality given to women in the more liberal countries of the world.
Final words: If you're going to read just one book by this author... Go read 'The Kite Runner'. That one sure has more depth and meaning.


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