A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Published:2008 by Riverhead Books
Genre(s): Fiction, Contemporary
The first time I read A Thousand Splendid Suns, I was in college and not as widely-read (in terms of genre) as I am today. I thought that this book was brilliant—a cleverly written piece capable of invoking such strong emotions and entirely deserving of all the praise it has gotten. Today, four years later, I think the same. Not to the exact degree as I did in the past, but close enough.
In their essence, there is nothing new to the characters and to the story. There are many tales of abuse, of suffocating patriarchy, of lines so deep between social classes, and so on, so forth. Moreover, not all of the characters are as well-developed and complex as the memory of my first read tells me. They’re too easily separated into the black-and-white categories of Good and Evil, and reality simply doesn’t work that way. There is always a reason for an action, no matter how insignificant it may sound. I could understand why Miriam was initially jealous of Laila, and I could even imagine how society and other factors have influenced Rasheed to become who he is in the book. However, just because I can, doesn’t mean that it’s the same for other readers. It would’ve been better if Hosseini delved deeper into the culture and the history here—elaborated and expanded just a little more and not rely mostly on dialogue for those aspects, but alas, he didn’t.
In my opinion, I think it’d be best to read this book as though it’s a contemporary fairy tale. By that, I mean that one should expect the typical traits one can find in folktales, and nothing else or you’ll most likely be disappointed. Though, if you’re capable of ignoring the weaknesses in the execution of this story, you’ll highly likely be dragged into the whirlwind of emotions just like I was (again).