A Thousand Splendid Suns

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Author: Khaled Hosseini

Page Count:402

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, War

Book Synopsis: Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.

Movie Adaptation: (In Development)

Hosseini’s panache for story-telling never fails to touch souls and he has done it again with this second debut novel! A story set in the initial three decades of the war-ridden Afghanistan, with powerful characters whose voice resonates deep within the reader; a masterpiece has been created yet again!

Hosseini weaves up this heartbreaking story about friendship in times of despair. Friendship has always been the main theme of Hosseini’s books (See The Kite Runner).

It will restore your faith in humanity, it’ll make you see the human in humanity; tell you that even in this cruel, cruel world, there are a handful of genuinely good people out there. It will open your eyes to the effect of war, that war is nothing but mindless and selfish; whose triumph may be pompous but results in killing of thousands of innocents, orphans sons and daughters, widows husbands and wives and displaces homes.

There were moments where  I had to literally put the book down for a moment and stare blankly at the wall and let the event sink in!

Here’s how it starts:

Mariam was five years old the first time she heard the word harami.

It happened on a Thursday. It must have, because Mariam remembered that she had been restless and preoccupied that day, the way she was only on Thursdays, the day when Jalil visited her at the kolba. To pass the time until the moment that she would see him at last, crossing the knee-high grass in the clearing and waving, Mariam had climbed a chair and taken down her mother’s Chinese tea set. The tea set was the sole relic that Mariam’s mother, Nana, had of her own mother, who had died when Nana was two. Nana cherished each blue-and-white porcelain piece, the graceful curve of the pot’s spout, the hand-painted finches and chrysanthemums, the dragon on the sugar bowl, meant to ward off evil.

It’ll make you re-realize the power of time, that everything is momentary, dynamic. One moment it’s right in front of your eyes, the next moment… poof!

The story is full of suspense; the next chapter would be based on a completely different scenario, on completely different emotions involving the same characters!

If you look back after finishing this book, scan through the book, you will realize the long way each character has come, the long way you have gone through to be the person you are at that specific moment!

Finally, if I haven’t made it clear earlier, I REQUEST you to give it this one a read!

Reviews:

Critics: 4.3/5

I’d rate it: 4.9/5

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The Kite Runner

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  • Author: Khaled Hosseini.   
  • Genre: (Fiction) Coming-of-Age, Family Drama, War Drama, Semi-autobiographical.
  • Page Count: 372  
  • Book synopsis: Growing up in Kabul, Amir and Hassan are inseparable friends. As an adult living in California, Amir remains haunted by a childhood incident in which he betrayed Hassan’s trust. When he learns that the Taliban has murdered Hassan and wife, Amir returns to his homeland to learn the fate of the couple’s son.
  • Movie Adaptation: The Kite Runner (2007).  

                                                                                                            

Let me put forth a simple warning before you go any further…Inshallah this is a Masterpiece! (Or at least I think so!). If you’d want to start reading or are looking for fresh options(or rather, are tired of the common genres) this is definitely a starter!

 

The language/ text just flows smoothly and is really very down-to-earth. The reading is easier as it gets but what’s tough is the turmoil of emotions it takes you through throughout the experience.

Here’s how it starts (Chapter 1):

”I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years. ”

The depth and complexities of human relationships is highlighted and executed so well, it almost touches your soul! This book would definitely be a book you’d remember when you’re 80!
Set in Afghanistan, and then In America, Khaled manages to give the piece a pretty homely feel(you may definitely feel this once you pick the book up, especially if u live in an around the western subcontinent).

It captures the effect of war on people, and it troubles you to think what’s happening on this side of the world while you are enjoying the comforts of luxury and soft sheets.

The descriptions are non-exaggeratedly (Is that even a word?) mind-blowing.

“I can still see his tiny lowset ears and that pointed stub of a chin, a meaty appendage that looked like it was added as a mere afterthought. And the cleft lip, just left of midline, where the Chinese doll maker’s instrument may have slipped; or perhaps he had simply grown tired and careless.”

If this book doesn’t get you reading all of Khaled’s other works, I don’t know what will! (I wish he’d write more!).

The story is entirely fictional, but it involves locations Khaled has grown up in. He succeeds to give a ”real” feel to the book with his characters.
This is definitely a book I’d recommend if u want to start “reading” reading.
Also, if  this book doesn’t manage to scar you, we wouldn’t make good friends (haha!).

Obviously I’d recommend reading the book first. Watching the movie is up to you! (Let me be honest, the movie is not that of a big deal [And I don’t say this because it’s a small-budget film!] ) .

Warning: Contains certain mortifying contents. The journey itself is a turmoil.

 

Ratings:

Critics: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I’d rate it: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥