June 20, 2007
"A Thousand Splendid Suns" By Khaled Hosseini- # 1 on NY Times Bestseller list
A gripping story! It is near impossible to put the book down once you begin reading it. Khaled Hosseini's new novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns is bound to be a top pick this summer, and not without reason. Mr Hosseini is a natural storyteller. He may not have an intricate plot to lay out, or dynamic characters to manipulate, but he sure has a knack for weaving a web around the reader; a web that tightens and envelops as the story unfolds.
The title could be suggestive as the author admits, "I went into this with a bit more of a mission than the first novel." He may have gone the Shakespeare route and spun a pun on the unsuspecting reader in the title itself. Is the novel really about the many splendid 'suns' that rose and set over Afghanistan in the last some years as the title suggests, or is there perhaps a pun intended in the title 'splendid suns'; Mr Hosseini is in fact making a sarcastic dig at the 'splendid s"o"ns' of Afghanistan, who in the name of religion inflicted heinous inhuman crimes against their own. These 'splendid' sons, first the Mujahideens and then the Taliban, eventually became models of male despotism and transformed Afghanistan into a theocracy where its women were pitted into an inferno of servitude, shame, and illiteracy.
The novel spans across a 30 year panorama that lays out, evocatively, the history of a war torn Afghanistan. It is on this canvas that Mr. Hosseini paints the story of two quite ordinary women who struggle to survive in a battle zone, amid starvation, human depravation, and world apathy. The two meet, in unusually contrived circumstances; grow, despite and due to their challenging environment, and eventually become, 'splendid' daughters of Afghanistan to bring about a constructive change in their own lives, and in the social fabric of their beloved war ravaged country.
The novel is a work of fiction, but Khaled Hosseini's has definitely placed Afghanistan and its ordeal on the world map, and has perhaps proved himself a 'splendid sun' for Afghanistan.