A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye

Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs

And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls

            –Saib Tabrizi

This book did one very important thing for me. It made me realize that there are so many human cultures on this earth that I am completely ignorant of.

Afghanistan in the last sixty years has seen social and economic upheavals that may not be matched by any other country. They were invaded by the Soviets and then taken over by terrorists and through it all the people watched their mostly modern society crumble and fall back to a medieval societal regime.

A Thousand Splendid Suns shows us two women living in Afghanistan during much of this upheaval and what it means to them to be Muslim women under Soviet rule and then under the doctrines of the Taliban.

The story will break your heart and put it back together again and it will show you Kabul in all its darkness, violence and splendor. It is a beautifully crafted story of loss, pain, and struggling to find meaning.

The capacity for human cruelty is unending and can be depressing to meet face to face. The only consolation can be that the capacity for human kindness is also infinite. The two don’t really balance each other but they both exist. All the cruelty in the world cannot be countered or made up for. War, whether amongst cultures and countries or inside a single family, leaves scars and wounds that do not heal or go away. No amount of humanitarianism can take away those wounded souls and replace them with something clean and whole.

Khaled Hosseini shows us that darkness and then shows us the light of human perseverance that keeps on building while others continue to tear down the world around them.


One thought on “A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini”

  1. Loved this book.

    “Mariam wished for so much in those final moments. Yet as she closed her eyes, it was not regret any longer but a sensation of abundant peace that washed over her. She thought of her entry into this world, the harami child of a lowly villager, an unintended thing, a pitiable, regrettable accident. A weed. And yet she was leaving the world as a woman who had loved and been loved back. She was leaving it as a friend, a companion, a guardian. A mother. A person of consequence at last. No. It was not so bad, Mariam thought, that she should die this way. Not so bad. This was a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate beginnings.”

    That was the part that resolved a lot for me, even though it incredibly sad and bitter.

    What a great author. If you haven’t read Kite Runner, I’d reccomend it. It is great for all the same reasons Splendid Suns was, yet, it seemed more complex. And there is more redemption, but lives (as they are in the real world) are still torn even after things are ‘put right’. What I love about Hosseini is I feel his love of patriotism for his country. It is underlying the stories, and I relate to him, in different ways.

    ” “Kneel here, hamshira. And look down.”

    One last time, Mariam did as she was told.”


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