Thursday, September 12, 2013
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Published November 2008 by Penguin Group
Narrated by Atossa Leoni
Source: I bought both of the copies of this one that I own - once again, I have it in both print and audio
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.
Mariam is forced, as an fifteen-year-old, to marry forty-year-old Rasheed. It seems at first that life will be better than expected until Rasheed gradually begins to show his true colors, first by insisting that Mariam wear a burka when they're out in public. When she is unable to give him a son, the beatings begin and eighteen years after they marry, Rasheed takes another young wife. Laila has her own reasons for accepting Rasheed's offer of marriage. Even so, she is much less willing to take Rasheed's abuse than Mariam has been and Mariam slowly begins to come back to herself.
I really wanted to be emotionally caught up in this book; I really should have been caught up emotionally in this book. Mariam's and Laila's stories are heartbreaking, as is the story of what has happened to Afghanistan in the past three decades. War, abuse, constant fear - this should have been a book that kept me on edge but it just didn't. Perhaps it was the experience of listening to it (although the narration is really quite good and I think having the authentic voice added a lot to the story) while driving and not being able to be totally immersed. Still, if for no other reason than to learn a tremendous amount about life, particularly life as a woman, in a part of the world that never ceases to interest me, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a book worth reading.
Labels: Afghanistan, book review, fiction
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
I could't get into this one. My club read it and i was the odd man out.ReplyDelete
At least you found it to be a worthwhile read even if you didn't feel completely invested in their stories. It does sound like an interesting book, and I've been wanting to give this author a try.ReplyDelete
I have avoided this book....but I'm glad it's a well-written story even if it didn't draw you in as much as you hoped. It's still on my list but I don't know if I can take it. If there's a movie, I'm on it. two hours of despair rather than 10.ReplyDelete
I read this with my book club. The Kite Runner had much more impact on me when I read it than A Thousand Splendid Suns.ReplyDelete
Interesting reaction to this book. I haven't read it or anything by the author yet--might be the only one who hasn't. I want to for precisely the reason you state at the end, I know little about life in Afghanistan, and this book seems like a reasonable way to remedy that.ReplyDelete
Some books work better as audio books than do others. This might be one of those that really is best when read.
Every body tells me that this book is amazing and that I need to read it that I am almost glad to hear a different opinion, even though I know you wished you had enjoyed it. I guess I'll try reading it some other time.ReplyDelete
I think it was JoAnn who recently listened to his newest and had a tough time because of the accent/authentic voice. I absolutely think that could have an impact on being fully immersed. I really liked this one when it first came out (and did get very emotional). I've also heard people call him emotionally manipulative? Hmmm.ReplyDelete
This book sounds interesting and worth reading but I think it would be difficult to listen to. My mind tends to wander when listening to a lot of info about unpleasant, violent happenings and people being hurt. Were you able to identify with or sympathize with any of the characters? I haven't read anything by Khaled Hosseini yet although I have his first 2 books...have you read either one?ReplyDelete