Monday, July 2, 2007

A Thousand Splendid Suns

After hearing an interview on Public Television with Khaled Hosseini, the author of A Thousand Splendid Suns, I knew I wanted to read it. When I called the library and was told I'd be 364th on their list, I was too impatient to wait. Surely A Thousand Splendid Suns is one of the most powerful books I've ever read. In the few days it took to read it, I found it hard to put down, but then looked to the time I could pick it up again. Reading this book, I remembered again and again something the author said in the PBS interview. When it was suggested that the story was difficult, Hosseini responded by saying: "Yes, the story was dark, but it needed to be told. The women's story needed to be told."

The cover page of the book describes it so well:
"A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS is a heartbreaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan's last thirty years--from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding--that put the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives--the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness--are inextricable from the history playing all around them. It is a striking, wrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love--a stunning accomplishment."

Also, praise from the back cover of this book, USA Today wrote:

"Spectacular...Hosseini's writing makes our hearts and emotions reel...(He) tells this saddest of stories in achingly beautiful prose through stunningly heroic characters whose spirits somehow grasp the dimmest rays of hope."

This novel seemed to take possession of me, forcing me to contemplate what is happening daily to families in Afghanistan. Bombs drop, severing some people's lives. Yet it's so far away. We're detached. But Hosseini's story tells us the real meaning of war.

Other interviews with Hosseini:
Click here to listen to an NPR interview.
Click here to read a Powell's interview.