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