A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini, Book Review (and a Trailer for The Kite Runner)
A year and a half back I was at our local Menards browsing through the books section (yes, our Menards carries books – lol) and my eye caught a name – Khaled Hosseini. Admittedly, I picked up the book because I thought “oh look, a Muslim author on the Best Sellers list”. At the register another woman informed me that it was an excellent book as she said something to the tune of “Ya Allah” at her son who was tugging at her. I loved the book.
At the last book club that I attended (we read Mohja Kahf’s The Girl In The Tangerine Scarf) another member said that she just finished “A Thousand Golden Suns” by Khalid Hosseini and informed us that “The Kite Runner” would be in theaters soon! I haven’t been so into fictional stories since I was a teen ager. I need to add “Presumed Innocent” and Irving Karchmar’s “Master of the Jinn” (I’m waiting for another one, brother!) and you have my complete collection of fiction since I was 17 but god forbid I list my collection before then.
While some may view the book as “once again the oppressed woman” it goes beyond that. It takes you through through war torn Afghanistan rich with historical references it gives one a sense of the complex nature of the struggles that have plagued this country. (Those that complained that The Kite Runner portrayed tunnel vision of Afghanistan’s struggles should feel vindicated). While the story does climax with oppression of women through abuse the story in whole does a great job of balancing the oppressor with supportive men as well. More than that though it is a story of motherhood, of friendship, love, hate, sins and forgiveness.
It is the hopes of Khaled Hosseini to through this book gain empathy for the struggles that the women of Afghanistan have endured (as you can see from the youtube introduction by Khaled Hosseini below) and I must admit he does an excellent job and will have you crying your heart out at times. Although if people could complain about “Paradise Now’s” human portrayal of terrorists, I can see hardcore feminists being dissapointed with the human portrayal of at least “the husband” in a few instances. I just can’t understand those arguments though – that’s what life is about; being human; being hurt; suffering. Those are the things that mold us.
Beyond all of that though, if one let’s go of all of the “expectations” of a book set in war-torn Afghanistan and in an era of oppression, the book’s main moral is about friendship, love and sacrifice. After seeing some of the comments on The Kite Runner, I wonder how many Muslims will be able to see that message.
Here is an introduction by Khaled Hosseini to the book:
and as promised the trailer for “The Kite Runner”