“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”
- Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns
- Author: Khaled Hosseini
- Publisher: Riverhead Books
- Genre: Contemporary, Historical Fiction
- First Publication: 2007
- Language: English
- Major Characters: Laila, Mariam, Rasheed, Tariq
- Setting Place: Herat and Kabul, Afghanistan
- Theme: History and Memory in Afghanistan, Suffering and Perseverance, Shame and Reputation, Love, Loyalty, and Belonging, Gender Relations and Female Friendship.
- Narrator: The story is told in the third person, alternating between Laila’s and Mariam’s points of view.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is a Heartbreaking story of Mariam and Laila. It represents the stereotypes against women and also implies the common quote, ‘Woman is woman’s worst enemy and a best friend’. The Storytelling is perfect and at no moment the reader feels bored or thought of putting it away.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini stretches over decades and talks about the Afghan history in which the Soviets invaded and the Taliban took over and time after that. It revolves around the story of two heroines: Mariam and Laila. Both are born and brought up differently but the severity of the war and their fate brings them together.
While all the characters are fictional in this novel, the reader feels sad after reading it. The story of both the women is heartbreaking, I myself was shoving nails into my head while reading this book. It is a great melancholic representation of the sufferings of the Afghan people.
It deals with various injustices done against women. Most of them are portrayed through Rasheed. Khaled Hosseini explicitly deals with domestic violence, Discrimination in providing education to the girl child (Aziza; Laila and Tariq’s daughter), Exploitation of women’s right to freedom, and many more. He has also glorified the qualities of motherhood and sisterhood among the women.
This novel includes the romance of Tariq and Laila which shortly turns into a tragedy. But maybe Hosseini felt a little pity for his readers and thus united both of them towards the end of the novel.
‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ is a disheartening novel and it may not be a good choice for sensitive readers. Almost 3/4th of the novel is following a melancholic theme. The reader cries at the agonies and miseries faced by these two women. It is indeed a masterpiece by Khaled Hosseini. If the reader is okay with the gloomy factor of this novel then definitely should give it a try. You can purchase your own copy of this novel from here.