Book Review A Thousand Splendid Suns a novel by Khaled Hosseini

Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns a Novel by Khaled Hosseini

After gaining considerable commercial success with his 2004 book, The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini published his second book A Thousand Splendid Suns in 2007, which is inspired from his visit to Afghanistan in 2003 where he observed the condition of women under the Taliban.

Born in Afghanistan, Khalid Hosseini along with his family fled to the United States during the 1979 Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan. Since his first publication he has gained a name for himself in the literary world and also went on to give movie rights for The Kite Runner.

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A Thousand Splendid Suns, a work of fiction brings into light the themes of oppression, women rights and provides a historical backdrop for the story to form.

The novel can be categorized as a realistic fiction, which provides a historical context to the Afghan history, with its timeline ranging from the Soviet invasion to the Post-Taliban world. The author has used a string to connect the life of two generations of women, making it a generational saga.

Mariam and Laila the two female protagonists, represent the brutal condemnation of women with the arrival of Taliban, where strict rules were imposed on women from wearing Burqas to not leaving the house without a man.

Apart from being oppressed by the system, the personal struggles of dealing with physical and emotional burden of Misogyny and patriarchy, wherein violence and abuse stirred up the life of these women. Many motifs and symbols have been used in the novel to emphasize the brutality that was practiced in the 1990s during the invasion. Burqa stood has a system of control and ownership over women.

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The antagonist of the novel have been portrayed by the use of gender identity, using Rasheed and Jalil, Mariam’s husband and father, as the abusers who were a part of the oppressor symbol the Taliban’s.

Mariam was the “bastard” child, whose desire for a father figure was met in a unconventional, short-spanned and with an unhappy ending. Laila came from a liberal family but the two generations of women come together in a very likely fashion in the midst of war.

The relevance and relatability of this novel is the current scenario remains true to its value. This work, although a work of fiction has the power to move the reader with its instances of barbarity committed against women.

Published in 2007, describing a time period of even backward though and system, this novel also proves as an insight into the current world and the savagery still being rendered upon women in Afghanistan, where they are excluded from any form of liberation, have restricted right to justice, education and can hold no public and political view.

Topics of education, female birth rights, domestic violence, gender power struggle and the timeline of continuing rage in Afghanistan is an ongoing topic.

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The author – Khaled Hosseini writes and narrates in a way that the reader is definitely bound to go through a myriad of emotions of disbelief and belief at the same time. Khaled Hosseini has used his own homeland to give the readers an inside view of the deliberate attempts to minimize the life of all and specially the female inhabitants of Afghanistan.

This work, like any work of art should, will create a nest of the rightful way to rebel against the wrong doing pf the political and social atmosphere burdened upon women.

What sets apart the author and this work is his vivid explanation of war and the cause and effect relation. A work of fiction with some truth attached to it makes it a real page turner. This book also acts as a source for the reader to dig deep into the history of Afghanistan and thereupon the personal lives of the characters.

The novel is narrated in third person using Omniscient narration, where the readers travel through the lives of Mariam and Laila, while still standing outside their lives with the narrator and observing the burden and thoughts of the characters.

The title of the novel – A Thousand Splendid Suns itself acts as an ode to the city of Kabul, as it is derived from a 17th century poem, which praises the wonder and resilience of Kabul to have a beautiful heart like the female characters, even in between war, atrocity and abuse.

Khaled Hosseini has also separated himself from giving an exotic image of Muslim women, which is often deliberated by the western world.

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Instead of giving a homogenous identity to the women, he has created female characters who despite the subjugation, lived up to their desires, at least in some ways possible.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a must read for people who relate to the ongoing and even the past formations of unjust social and political scenarios. It is a work of art which will remain with the reader forever making this work earn a place in war and feminist Literature.

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