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Shortlisted for the British Book Awards, Author of the Year, 2008.
A Richard and Judy Book Club Selection.
Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of 30 years of Afghanistan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.
Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss, and by fate. As they endure the ever-escalating dangers around them, in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul, they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.
A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.
"Unimaginably tragic, Hosseini's magnificent second novel is a sad and beautiful testament to both Afghani suffering and strength. Readers who lost themselves in The Kite Runner will not want to miss this unforgettable follow up." ( Booklist)
What listeners say about A Thousand Splendid SunsAverage customer ratings
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Passionate story, passionless reading
It is sheer testament to the beauty and lyrical passion of Hosseini's writing that the story still lives and breathes beyond the unemotional (whilst perfectly pronounced), characterless reading by Atossa Leoni.
12 people found this helpful
Recommended - but not much fun
I don't think that 'enjoyment' is quite the right word to describe how I felt while listening to this. If I had been reading, I would have said that it was a real page-turner, as I was gripped by the narrative, and all the time wanted to find out what was going to happen next to Mariam and Laila. I kept waiting and hoping for something nice to happen - but it never did.
It was a good insight into the politics of Afghanistan, without feeling like a history lesson. The writing was vivid, and brought to life both urban and rural landscapes.
I felt very sad at the end, as while there is a suggestion of hope, we now know what has happened in Afghanistan since. Just supposing Laila was a real character rather than fictional, I wouldn't rate her chances very highly.
It was beautifully read.
10 people found this helpful
The best novelist of our generation?
Simply a stunning book that engrosses from start to finish. If you liked the Kite Runner, you will love this. Khalid Hosseini is quickly becoming the best novelist of his generation
7 people found this helpful
A Thousand splendid suns
This book is wonderful but if you want a nice book then don't read this one, good job I was listening and not reading as I wouldn't have been able to see the pages from the tears. The two women in this book have a terrible life and you are captivated by their strength. A wonderful story.
6 people found this helpful
A Thousand Splendid Suns
The book had me hooked from the beginning, its a VERY graphic account in life in Afghanistan during the occupation by the Russians and under the Talibans. At some points I dreaded listening scared of what was to follow next. If you like fairytales with everyone living happily ever after this is not for you. But for me it gave me an insight into Moslem life and an awareness of how lucky we are in the Western World.
20 people found this helpful
- Mrs Eastwood
A compelling listen
This fascinating book gives a detailed insight into the lives of Moslem women in Afghanistan during a turbulent time. The attitude of their men towards them is almost unbelievable to Western women. We can be grateful that our life is unlike theirs (in normal circumstances) as it could possibly be. The bravery of the two main characters, knowing the possible punishments for their bid for freedom, takes ones breath away and life has to go on hold while you wait to hear how the story unfolds. A great listen.
5 people found this helpful
A beautifully written tragic story with hope
I absolutely loved listening to this book. It was so well written that I was in the book living the lives of those two heroic women. I was totally absorbed and had to sit in the car at the end of my journey so that I could carry on listening. It has also taught me about Afganistan and the issues that they have had to contend with. Well worth a listen.
3 people found this helpful
Emotional & wonderful
This is simply the best book I have read/listened too in a very long time. The characters were beautiful & I really found myself caring about them deeply. I didn't think the Kite Runner could be beaten but this story was so gripping I found myself thinking about it all the time. I think everyone should read this beautiful book as it gives such insight into ordinary women, the true heroines of this awful time. This book gives Afganistan a human face rather than the picture built up by war & the Taliban.
2 people found this helpful
What a fantastic book! Gives you a real insight into what it is (or was) like growing up as a woman in Afghanistan, especially under the Taliban regime and the utter disregard for women's human rights there. All the serious stuff aside, the book is full of sights and smell and texures and has really made me want to go there and see the place for myself. It has pointed out to me that beyond the war and suppression it is a country full of history and beauty that is deserving of attention in its own right. With regards to the narration, it is (suitably so) read by a woman who obviously has the right cultural background, as every local name or Farsi/Pashtun word is pronounced like a local, making the whole experience more believable.
2 people found this helpful
For love of Afghanistan
I never thought those words could go together, 'love' and 'Afghanistan'. My sketchy knowledge from newspapers and images from television led me to want to look the other way, to know no more about a cruel, harsh environment that could only breed violence. The Kite Runner gave me some knowledge, a little more empathy; A Thousand Splendid Suns has drawn me in, as if Afghanistan is in some small way part of my own emotional life. I've hoped and despaired, feared and rejoiced, sometimes all at the same time, with Hosseini's Afghan women, and shared in their love for one another and for the children.
The continuing tragedy of Afghanistan has acquired another dimension for me, I can't look away.
2 people found this helpful
A Thousand Splendid Applauses
It was unbelievably good. I thought after the Kite Runner that would be hard to match, but this is just as good if not better. If ancient customs of arranged marriages bother you, the Taliban incense you and spousal inequality make your blood boil, you're going to love this book. What a cleverly woven tale of how 2 woman's lives merge for the better, then the worse, then the better...
19 people found this helpful
- Bill from Florida
This is truly a magnificent book. Having read the Kite Runner, I was expecting the book to be good, and I was not disappointed. The main character in Kite Runner was not an exemplary character although his character takes a turn for the better in the latter part of the book. In A Thousand Splendid Suns, the characters are true throughout. This was a book that I could not put down, once I had started. I would not recommend that this book be read in the abridged format. Reading the abridged version of this book would cause the reader to lose too much.
50 people found this helpful
This book did not disapppoint! If you liked Mr. Hosseini's first book, The Kite Runner, then you will LOVE this book! This book is a beautiful story and I was hooked from the opening chapter. Atossa Leoni does a magnificent job reading this wonderful book as I felt like I was "in" the story. I HIGHLY recommend this book...a must for your summer reading list!
48 people found this helpful
- Sher from Provo
This is not a happy book, although the ending is much happier than the beginning. It does offer much to think and talk about, and reminds me that I have so much to be grateful for. The situation in Afghanistan for women is abysmal, to put it nicely. This book lets us have a glimpse into what it must be like for women over there, and it is not a pretty picture. I have often wondered how I could live under such circumstances because I have a rather spunky attitude. As a child I fought for my own identity with everything within me because of two older brothers whom I perceived as being more valued than I was. Would I be inclined to do likewise under the thumb of the Taliban or Sharea Law? (sorry if I am misspelling those words) I know I would want to fight back, but the fact is, women, even strong, spunky women, are helpless over there. It breaks my heart.
This is a heartbreaking book that, nevertheless, needs to be read by everyone. It underscores the fact that, even in the face of incredible hardship and injustice, many people are inherently good and loving, and can make it through some pretty tough situations if they will turn to love instead of hate.
Beautifully read by Alossa Leoni.
23 people found this helpful
- Suze Weinberg
It's not a good thing when you're driving along in your car crying, yelling, cheering and experiencing all kinds of powerful emotions!
But..that's the reaction I had to this masterpiece about 2 amazing women who begin as enemies and end as soul mates because of all they had to live through.
We have NO idea how lucky we are, living in the freedom called America, until we read about the lives of those who suffer in third world countries. It's hard to even imagine that there are still people who believe and behave as Rashid did...and yet...we know there are.
And, while this doesn't purport to be a true story..it might as well be because it is so believable that you picture everything as if it was in front of you. It is magnificently written and, the reader is equally as wonderful.
I loved Kite Runner and I equally loved a Thousand Splendid Suns. I could not stop listening and I anxiously await his next novel.
82 people found this helpful
Wow! Amazing book!
This book is a masterpiece because it paints a vivid picture of a mysterious, hidden country; a modern setting that we have seen on television, but could not understand. The human story it tells is universal. If you listen to this audiobook, you will care about the characters, and you will surely recognize people you have known.
9 people found this helpful
Powerful and Enlightening
Like so many others I was so excited to listen to this one because I enjoyed The Kite Runner so much. Hosseini set the bar very high with his first book and I wondered if he would be able to meet it with this one.
When I first started reading the book, I started having my doubts. Where The Kite Runner brought the relationship between Amir and Hassan into play much earlier, in this book the relationship between Mariam and Laila didn't happen till much later. The first half of the book dealt with background information of the two women seperately and how their lives were before they actually crossed paths. The second half of the book concentrated on their relationship together and how it grew. For me, the second half of the book was incredible!
A Thousand Splendid Suns is a book that will leave you thinking and wondering about how so many people survive a life like this. It made me think about the devastation some woman endure. The strength, courage, faith and love that can come from a tragic life.
Unlike some of the other reviewers, I thought the narrator was mediocre. Of course her pronunciation of the foreign words was perfect, but I just felt she wast a bit too monotone. It does not ruin the listen in anyway though. You will totally enjoy this one.
18 people found this helpful
- Yoon Ping
This book moved me so much that I had to take a break in the middle of the book for a few days to 'recuperate' before continuing. I just couldn't continue because i was so emotionally affected by the injustice and cruelty experienced by the two women. I honestly think this book is better written compared to the kite runner, although I absolutely loved that book too. However, while there were some degree of caricaturization of characters in kite runner, the depiction of personalities and experiences in this book is so stark, so vivid, so palpable - so much so that it hurts.
This is my first review.. i just had to recommend it to everyone!
18 people found this helpful
This is a beautifully written, heart-wrenching book. At its core, this book is about love, resistance, and resilience. However, the story is filled with such random violence and subjugation, both of the Afghani people at the hands of the Soviets, Jihadists, and Taliban, and of the two women through whom the story is told, that it made my heart ache. I am at a loss to describe just how powerful this story is.
18 people found this helpful
A Tribute to the Indominable Human Spirit
This is a deeply moving story. It is beautifully written and the narrator carries you into the heart of war-torn Afghanistan and the characters are clearly in front of you as you listen. The fate of the two women seems out of their control as they are bound by the laws of the Muslim world, but we learn that they are masters of their destiny when they make difficult decisions in the most important matters of their lives. I cannot imagine being as courageous as they. This author presents us such valuable lessons about what is real and enduring in human nature even in the face of violence, chaos, rejection, misery and deprivation.
15 people found this helpful