Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Book Review~ A Thousand Splendid Suns

Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Author: Khaled Hosseini
No. of pages: 402
Publisher: Bloomsbury

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.

Ever since The Kite Runner, I've fallen in love with Khaled Hosseini story-telling gift and the strength of the emotion he presented in his book. I bought this one without as much of a second thought. I saw his name and I know this is going to be one heck of a book. And it did not disappoint.

The book centers on the lives of two different woman; the soft Mariam and the outspoken Laila. Mariam is a harami, an illegitimate child, whose life come stumbling down with tragedy involving her mother and her father's vague expression of love towards her. She is married off to a man 20 years older than her. Just when she thought life was changing for the better, Mariam was be fallen with another tragedy and soon found her life a series of frightened days and nights with her husband. Laila was born to a well-educated family who believes in the equality of women and men. But war ravaged everything from her and soon she too finds herself living under Rasheed's control. 

Just like the Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini has a knack for creating very believable emotional tension and terror. War seemingly shaped almost everything in the life of an Afghan individual and Mr Hosseini addressed this issue very well. He shows how people in Afghanistan lived and moved on in a war-torn country, every individual has a beloved one died because of bombs, rockets and land mine. Civilians mercilessly killed, children orphaned and such. It is such an ugly world to live in. But reading this book made me realized the courage and determination of the men and women in Afghanistan. Despite their losing everything in their lives, they continued to survive and even loved their country more than anything. This book made me feel ashamed of myself. I don't even know half the pain that people in Afghanistan have gone through and here I am taking my blessings for granted.

Now the strongest theme in this book is women's oppression. I cannot count how many times Mariam and Laila were terrorized, humiliated and abused by Rasheed. This man says that he is protecting them, but he is the embodiment of how shallow men's perception of women are in Afghanistan. Mr Hosseini knows best about this, and God bless him for the courage he have in speaking out for the women of his country. It hurts me to think that girls as young as 14 are forced into marriage, and with men more than 30 years age gap. This crime is beyond me. Women deserves the respect from every men in the world. But guys like Rasheed disgust me to no end. 

The Kite Runner brought me to turmoils of emotion; of guilt, shame, forgiveness and love. A Thousand Splendid Suns definitely brought more. This book worths all the attention in the world and I recommend it to each one of you.

4 out of 4 stars. 

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