Friday, May 29, 2009
A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini, Riverhead Books, 2007, 367 pp
Some readers I know thought that this follow up to The Kiterunner was better. I disagree. It is a good story because Hosseini clearly studied all the tips on how to tell a pageturning story, but A Thousand Splendid Suns lacks the strong theme of redemption which drives the earlier book. The theme here is the female bonding that happens amongst oppressed women. There is a good deal of drama but it did not move me as much.
The cruelty to women and children, the horror of war, the sorrows of loss are all in abundance in a tale that covers over 30 years of Afghanistan history from the Russian conquest through liberation and then suppression by the Taliban to the American invasion after 9/11. Another look into a culture that is so foreign from ours and is still so influenced by ancient tribal custom is always a good thing as far as understanding goes.
Hosseini is a competent writer of popular fiction and has a mission to make certain things clear. He may also be doing some atonement of his own for his native country's despicable human rights record when it comes to women. Good on him for all that and I hope he keeps writing at the same time that I hope he gets better.
NOTE: This book is currently in stock in paperback at Once Upon A Time bookstore or may be special ordered in hardcover.