Book Review of "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini

writerjen By writerjen, 24th Dec 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Dramatic Fiction

This book has many different aspects to it which include domestic abuse, A good part of this book is based in Afghanistan.

The first part of the story

The book begins with Mariam in Kabul, a child that was unwelcomed by her mother and Jalil, her father, was ashamed of having. Jalil had three wives and was a very wealthy man, as well as other children by them. Mariam always looked forward to her father's visits every Thursday when they would have their time together. Mariam's mother Nana had a severe emotional disorder, and when one day, Mariam decides to sneak over to her father's mansion in Herat, not returning home, Nana commits suicide by hanging herself from a rope tied to a tree. Mariam is overcome with grief and blames herself for her mom's death. Jalil can only take Mariam in for a day or two before he has to make other arrangements. His other family is shamed by Mariam's presence, and so therefore Mariam is not allowed to remain there. She is very angry with her father when Jalil makes arrangements with an older man, Rasheed, who is a shoemaker. The wedding takes place quickly to get Mariam off of her dad's hands in spite of her protestations. As she is carried off my Rasheed, she tells her father she wants nothing to do with him ever again. And thus begins a hard life ahead.

Rasheed carries Mariam off to Herat, and though nice at the very first, turns mean and abusive to Mariam. She has to cook his meals just so and everything. And things really turn terrible when she becomes pregnant, and Rasheed expects a son. Mariam loses the baby though pretty quickly, and ever after is horrible to Mariam. She tries to endure Rasheed's behaviors with courage, but it is often very difficult.

The second half of the story

On the next side of the story, Mariam gets acquainted with Fariba, another woman who is a neighbor there. The two women make friends for a while until they both separate through war in Afghanistan. Fariba goes on to have children, two boys and a girl, Laila.

Fariba becomes very weak and depressed, and her daughter Laila, sweet girl that she is, is always trying to help her mother. And when tragedy strikes, and she loses both brothers to fighting in the war, her mother is permanently grief stricken. Laila carries on and has a special friend, Tariq, whom she falls in love with as well as being his best friend. Tariq looks after Laila, protecting her. Laila is absolutely devastated though, when Tariq and his family must leave Afghanistan and travel on to Pakistan first, and the Peshawar. Before they leave, she and Tariq make love to one another before saying their goodbyes. It would be an even more difficult road after this.

When Laila and her family made the decision to leave Afghanistan too, they had started to sell all of their goods to make money before leaving there. They had almost finished getting all of their items into a taxi when a horrible explosion took place. Laila's parents perished almost instantly, and Laila survived it, being left behind.

Laila's path will cross with Mariam and Rasheed's when she is left in their home to heal. In the meantime, Rasheed, rotten man that he is, takes a sexual interest in Laila, and wants to marry her also. After Mariam hears this, she comes to despise Laila. But that doesn't matter. Rasheed does what he wants and everyone must obey. Laila is pregnant soon, but not with Rasheed's child as he thought, but she had become pregnant with Tariq before he went on his way. A girl, Aziza is born, and Rasheed despises this child, and becomes very abusive to Laila afterwords, just the way he is to Mariam all the time. Later, Laila would become pregnant with his natural son, Zalmai, and he favors this child to the extreme, and his son of course favors Rasheed over his mother. As Rasheed becomes more and more abusive, Mariam and Laila become close and the best of friends to one another. Rasheed caught the two women trying to leave him with the kids one day, and when Mariam and Laila were returned by the sheriff to him., he tries to kill Laila, and almost succeeds. Mariam saves Laila's life as he tries to strangle her, and kills Rasheed in the process.

Mariam is sent to prison for several years, and on death row, even though she did it in self defense. I found this to be a very sad part of the book, and poor Laila would never see her best friend again.

This book is very historical and detailed. The author does a superb job building up the characters and keeping the storylines strong. It is defintely a book that once read, you could never forget, and probably reread again later.


Afghanistan Story, Domestic Abuse Story, Historical Fiction

Meet the author

author avatar writerjen
I am Jennifer Kirkman from St. Petersburg, FL. I used to be a piano teacher and taught for 25 years before retiring after burnout.

My writing focuses a lot on health issues which I enjoy talking about. I also enjoy reading a lot, and counted cross...(more)

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author avatar D in The Darling
25th Dec 2010 (#)

Oh, this beautiful. It makes one wish to go and grab a copy straight away. Nice work and thanks for the sharing!

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author avatar Denise O
28th Dec 2010 (#)

Nice work on your reviews, you make me want to go get each and very book.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Retired
4th Jan 2011 (#)

Excellent work

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