Book review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I've been meaning to read this book since I finished the Kite Runner back in school, over 7 years ago now, but life and a lot of other great reads distracted me. I absolutely adored the Kite Runner, it was such a beautifully written novel and I loved the author's work that I knew this read would be just as brilliant - and it was.

Book review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Plotline 

A Thousand Splendid Suns tells the life of both Mariam and Laila and how their lives intertwine. Mariam lives with her mother and when she is fifteen, she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed, who is vastly older than her. Two decades after the marriage and living an unhappy life, Mariam meets Laila, a local teenager who she takes in after a terrible occurrence. Their relationship blooms and is similar to what a mother and daughter's bond would look like.  When the Taliban take over, everything changes and life becomes a constant struggle with issues including starvation, brutality, and fear being a daily thing. But, love can help everything, and the strength of love speaks volumes in this book to overcome some of the most heartbreaking obstacles.

Characters and relationships

I say this about every book, but I adore seeing how relationships develop between characters. This book is heartbreaking in so many ways and the use of rawness in emotion is incredibly pure throughout with the characters. I could physically feel their pain when a lot of incidents happened.

Mariam undoubtedly grows throughout the novel and the first section of the book is solely focused on her and her relationships with her mother and father. Mariam was born out of wedlock so the illegitimacy of her birth was looked down upon and it means she never got to see her brothers and sisters from her dad's marriage. She lived exclusively with her mother and was constantly reminded that she was an outcast. Her relationship with her mother isn't a great one as the toxicity is real, and at the beginning of the novel, it's her father she fixates on. However, when she gets older and her father sends her to get married to Rasheed, she begins to resent her father and wishes to feel her mother's love and the bond they had.

The relationship between her and Rasheed is an odd one. Initially, Mariam is incredibly angry in having to marry Rasheed and a lot of confused and upset feelings come across in the book, especially towards Rasheed - he's a stranger and senior to her, she's only a young girl. She gains his trust and at the beginning, things don't seem bad for her, they're new and it's something she is getting used to a new husband, a new home, and a new life, and really, been throwing it at the deep end to be an adult and wife when she was only a child. All fresh feelings. But as their marriage goes on, things get harder and she begins to resent him and his actions a lot.

Laila comes into the story and we delve into her life before the pair meet. Laila isn't a typical girl in Afganistan at the time as her father is quite against gender norms in their culture and wants Laila to go on being the best person she can be, whilst her mum is sick with depression, grieving the loss of Laila's brothers. Laila has a great relationship with her father and their bond is so pure, but her relationship with her mother is quite rocky as she forever craves that motherly bond but her mum is too ill to offer it. My favourite relationship though is between Laila and her best friend Tariq. They are childhood playmates and their bond is beautiful to read about, especially as they get older and kids begin to pick on Tariq as he only has one leg. When they get into teens, their friendship grows into something more but distance stops them from pursuing it.

The whole book comes together though with Mariam and Laila when they meet, and their two paths are intertwined. At first, Mariam is really jealous and almost hateful towards Laila, whereas Laila just wants to get on with Mariam. Over time though, when things get difficult, they start to rely on each other and build the loveliest bond you could ever read and become the best of friends. Their relationship is so heartwarming and it's tested in so many ways - and proves how powerful a female friendship can truly be.

Book review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Overall thoughts

Overall, I absoutely adored this book so much that I cannot even put it into words. From the first page, the plotline and the way the story is written truly hooked me in. There were so many emotions throughout the novel; the shock factor was huge and at plenty of stages in the book, I felt heartbroken, sad but also incredibly happy at some points. It really brought to my attention the devastating circumstances that were experienced by many women in Afganistan and are still experienced today by women all over the world. It's a tragic novel but so raw, heartbreaking, and also a book that tests the power of love. I loved it. Khaled Hosseini is an incredible writer.

Ending

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect in the ending as so many shocking things happen before you get right through to the last page. However, it ended on a note which really made me smile and brought the whole book and characters together.

I hope you enjoyed this review. Have you read this book?

Thank you for reading <3

57 comments

  1. I read this book in my teens outside of school and it moved me so much. I ended up telling my teacher all about it after class once and having a right old book bonding session. I don't know if I could read it again right now, but maybe knowing the ending, I could give it a go for a bit of 2020 escapism!

    Rosie

    https://www.loverosiee.co.uk

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    1. It's such a moving book, I'm glad you enjoyed it! xx

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  2. I'm glad that the book ended happily! It sounds like a good read and I loved reading your review! x

    Lucy | www.lucymary.co.uk

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  3. You have written a great and detailed review, I haven’t heard of this before. Thank you for sharing.

    Lauren

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  4. This sounds like such a brilliant book, and definitely a must-read. I've heard of it but never looked into it before, now it's totally going on my list! Great review.

    Anika | chaptersofmay.com

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  5. Great review! This book sounds like such a good read and whilst its not something I would normally choose, your review has got me for intrigued by it.

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  6. This sounds like such a great read and you reviewed it without giving anything away :) xx

    Holly | www.gollymissholly.uk

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  7. This isn't the usual genre I read but this review has made me curious. I might be buying this book sooner. Thanks to you!

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  8. I haven't read this one but thank you for the fantastic review. It's definitely going on my TBR list! x

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  9. I can't wait to pick up this book, it's been on my radar for so long! Great review!

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  10. I love stories that are well-told, even if there is sadness and heartbreak involved. A book with a title like this has a lot to live up to but, through your review, I see that it does! Thank you for sharing a new book with me. :)

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  11. Thanks for the review dear... will read this book soon :-)
    Beauty and Fashion/Rampdiary/Glamansion

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  12. This looks like a good read. Thanks for sharing!
    xoxo
    Lovely
    www.mynameislovely.com

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  13. This sounds like such an interesting book! The story line seems so gripping and I love that it ends in a way leaving you a smile, I always prefer books to end this way!

    Nicola | nicoladaletraining.com

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  14. I haven't read this book before, but I like that it highlights the circumstances many women experience even today. It's also good that the book has a happy ending.

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  15. Brilliant review! This sounds like a very emotive, moving book that certainly sounds like one to read x

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  16. I read this book years ago and I remember being moved at the time. But as I can't remember what happened in the end, I think a re-read is well overdue - your fab review has reminded me what a good book it is, thank you!

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  17. I read that book and it is amazing. I like it so much.

    New Post - https://www.exclusivebeautydiary.com/2020/11/magical-words-pay-yourself-first-beauty.html

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  18. Great review! I haven't read this book but from your review, it seems totally worth it to add this to my TBR list :D Thank you x

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  19. The book seems amazing, really loved the review and im completly interested <3

    www.pimentamaisdoce.blogspot.com

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  20. I was really hooked while reading the review. It seems very interesting.

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  21. A great review — and a really interesting book. I’m always looking for new reading ideas so this is going on my list!

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  22. Ooh, this book looks interesting. I, too, love character development in books, and I give up on books if I don't feel 'convinced' enough by certain characters. Given your glowing review, I might just have to pick it up myself. Thanks for your recommendation! :)

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  23. This literally sounds like an amazing book, I need to check this out!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

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  24. This sounds like such a fab book, I love the premise! Definitely one I need to read, thank you for sharing!

    Tash - A Girl with a View

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  25. I haven’t read this before but sounds like I should :) thanks for sharing

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  26. Being made to marry someone vastly older than you at 15 would be awful, especially with it being arranged by a father who has practically disowned you to avoid the supposed shame of having a child out of wedlock

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  27. Khalid Hosseni is one of my favorite authors. I will check this book out. Thank you for sharing your review with me

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  28. I've heard so many good things about this one- but I've never actually read it! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this one, I'll have to check it out soon x

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  29. This isn't the sort of book I would normally read but it sounds wonderful! I will need to get myself a copy!

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  30. I have just read the Kite Runner at school but never anything else from Hosseini. i will add it to my list as it sounds like a great read! Thanks for sharing x

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