Thursday, September 27, 2007

Group Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Summary: from Amazon.com
Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul-they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Khaled Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

Jenn’s Review:
A Thousand Splendid Suns is an effortless read and an accessible, compelling story. It is easy to get wrapped up in the characters and their continued struggles, to keep an accelerated pace in hope of a reprieve for the women.

Certainly, this is a book I would not have picked up on my own. Yes, its predecessor, The Kite Runner, is on my list of things I should read, but the likelihood of my getting around to it? Less probable than I’d like to admit. Now I'm anxious to go back and read it! It is impossible for me to imagine living in a society where I am stripped of rights because I am a woman, and this is a journey I wouldn’t have taken without this book. It gave me perspective on historical events that, ‘til now, had been one dimensional.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Julie’s Review:
I highly anticipated the release of A Thousand Splendid Suns and it did not disappoint. As with The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini wove the history of Afghanistan into his story which made it more alive and rich. The story intersects the lives of 2 very different women. We are first introduced to Mariam as a young girl living outside of Herat. We are exposed to how her life changes in a manner that I can only think of as normal for this culture. We are then introduced to Laila and her story. I don’t want to give away too much by telling how Laila and Mariam intersect so I’ll just say to you that they end up living under the same roof. What begins there is a story of love, hardship, survival and redemption for our heroines.

I loved the book and the story that he wove together about these women and their struggles and strifes in a country that is so different from ours. What he wrote about did not surprise me since Afghanistan has been in the media for a few years now, but it still gets my blood boiling at how women are treated in this day and age. If you enjoyed the book, I would recommend the author Jean Sasson to read. They are just as, if not more enlightening about the treatment of women. I think what surprised me the most is that a man could write about women in such a compassionate manner and make them strong all at the same time. He truly is a gifted storyteller and one that I will continue to eagerly anticipate.

Final Take: 5/5


Lisa’s Review:
With three decades of political conflict as the backdrop, Hosseini tells the story of two women, from different backgrounds, brought together by unfortunate circumstances. They forge an unlikely friendship and together try to find a way to endure. His prose, to put it simply, is emotional yet completely engaging and full of hope. At times I found myself putting the book away so I could compose myself, often failing miserably. In the end, not only did I have an unforgettable reading experience, but I found myself profoundly grateful for the simple freedoms in my life.

The Kite Runner, which I totally judged by its cover, has now found itself very close to the top of the pile and I look forward experiencing it and whatever else Khaled Hosseini can dream up.

Final Take: 5/5

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