A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (audio)

This is a story of Mariam who lives in Afghanistan with her mother and dreams of being with her father.  When her father refuses her entry to his home when she tries to go and stay with him, she returns home only to find that her mother has committed suicide in Mariam’s absence.

At 15 years old Mariam is married off to 40 year old Rasheed, who is extremely abusive and Mariam suffers many miscarriages.  Rasheed, a brute of a man, believes that it is shameful for a man to ever lose control of his wife.  This is the only life that Mariam has come to know.

When Rasheed is 60, he takes in a 14-year-old girl named Laila as his second wife, whose parents were killed by stray bombs.  While Mariam hates Rasheed, she still finds herself jealous of this younger woman now sharing her home.  Rasheed’s violence soon turns on Laila as well and the two women start to find a common bond… in survival.

This past spring I had the pleasure of listening to Khaled Hosseini’s audio of The Kite Runner.  I was totally engrossed in this reading and so impressed that the author narrated this himself.  His voice and strong accent made this audio even more powerful for me.

Due to my experience with The Kite Runner and the raves I heard that if you loved The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns would blow me away because it was even better.

Even better?  Could that even be possible?

It took me awhile to take the time to listen to this one but before I left for Honduras in November I downloaded this on to my IPOD to experience what I hoped was going to be another adventure in Afghanistan culture, colored with vivid characters and images of a world beyond my own.

A Thousand Splendid Suns, was written after Hosseini traveled back to his native Afghanistan to examine for himself the nation’s situation in the aftermath of decades of turmoil.  I appreciated the language, basking in traditions and cultural differences that fascinate me:


The Islamic spiritual observance that lasts one month, spanning the time when the Koran was given to Muhammad. Considered the most spiritual month of the year, fasting (between sunrise and sundown), prayer, and charity are emphasized.

I enjoyed this reading very much but did not find the narration or the book itself as totally captivating as I found The Kite Runner.  I feel that Kite Runner started with such a huge turmoil event and the book was the resulting aftermath of that event where as A Thousand Splendid Suns takes a longer time to get to where it needs to go, which is not a bad thing, but took longer to pull me into the story line and as a result I came out the other side not feeling the immense emotion that I carried with Hosseini’s first book.



I purchased this audio from audible.com

24 thoughts on “A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (audio)

  1. I loved The Kite Runner and I have this one in paperback. I just haven’t had a chance to read it yet. My reading time has been pretty limited this year with work. Hopefully it will get better! I have read quite a few books since Christmas vacation started though!

    Happy Reading! 🙂

  2. I actually enjoyed this one more than the Kite Runner. I’m not sure why, but it may be because my culture is quite close to those he’s talking about.

  3. I was the same as you – loved The Kite Runner and enjoyed A Thousand Splendid Suns but didn’t love it. That said, as I read your review, the characters came back to me so it obviously still made an impression.

  4. I loved A Thousand Splendid Suns. I thought it was fascinating how the author wrote from the perspective of a woman and i loved the theme of the power that women hold even when they are seemingly helpless. It is one of my all-time favorite books ever.

  5. I cried a tear for both of books.

    And just like you, from those two books, I enjoy The Kite Runner more than A Thousand Splendid Suns. Just because many emotions still remained even few months after reading it.

    But I was little disappointed with its movie.

  6. I read this one before The Kite Runner and that may be why I loved it so much. Also I loved Mariam and related to her more than the boy in the second book. They’re both wonderful books of course and enable us to see Afghani people as individuals in this awful war.

  7. I have read both of his books with my book club and all of us loved both of them. I thought this one was actually more of a powerful book that focused on women and maybe it would have had more of an impact reading it rather than listening? Personally, I have thought that about a few books that I have listened to.

  8. I’m glad you mentioned the audio version of The Kite Runner. I didn’t realize the author narrated it. I’m not usually a fan of audio books unless the author is the narrator, and he/she has a distinctive voice. Perhaps I’ll give it a try.

  9. To be honest, I like them both. Depending on which day you ask me, I may say I like one better than the other. BUT, that can change on a daily basis! I like to just say that I like Hosseini! How’s that instead?!? 🙂

  10. I have a hardcover copy of this one and to make certain I read it soon, I listed it as one of my 2011 challenge books! I loved The Kite Runner when I read it two years ago, and even though the stories are different, it’s the cultural voice and strength of the characters that drew me in so deeply that I hope to find in this one as well. Thanks for the review!

  11. I was totally fascinated (and sometimes horrified) by the way that Splendid Suns showed the Afhgan world from women’s points of view. Hard to read at times because it was so disturbing, but for me, very powerful.


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