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A Thousand Splendid Suns Illustrated Edition (original 2007; edition 2009)

by Khaled Hosseini

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21,69372861 (4.27)671
Member:balupitu
Title:A Thousand Splendid Suns Illustrated Edition
Authors:Khaled Hosseini
Info:Riverhead Hardcover (2009), Edition: Ill, Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (2007)

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» See also 671 mentions

English (635)  Dutch (27)  Spanish (17)  Swedish (8)  Danish (7)  Italian (6)  Finnish (5)  French (5)  Catalan (4)  German (4)  Norwegian (4)  Portuguese (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (724)
Showing 1-5 of 635 (next | show all)
I have heard this book described as the female counterpart of “The Kite Runner”. I concur only in the most basic sense; the leads are indeed women. However, unlike “The Kite Runner” which had the charm of onion-peeling story-telling, atonement, and redemption, this book is an in-your-face repeated torture of the female sex from childhood to adulthood written linearly aligning with historical events in Afghanistan from 1959 to 2003. It was a painful read, and I cringed at every turn thinking no-good-can-come-of-this with every new plot line. Even with the prerequisite heart-tucking twists and some moving scenes, it’s simply not possible to enjoy reading such misogyny-like tale. Perhaps the reality of Afghanistan is more grim than my western mind is willing to concede. I should appreciate the book for reminding me of such inconvenient truths.

Mariam, the bastard daughter, who was taught to expect nothing being born as a “harami”, learned to give love and to receive love. This reciprocation of love gave her life meaning, and she deemed her life fulfilled despite the harsh existence she has had. Laila owes her life and her family to Mariam who shall forever shine “with the bursting radiance of a thousand suns”, a spin of the 17th century Saib-e-Tabrizi poem about Kabul that has these two lines:
“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”

My favorite character is Laila’s father, the skinny, shy, book loving teacher who taught Laila the equality of women and despite the oppression of the Soviets recognized their one positive attribute to Afghanistan: educating women. “Because a society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated, Laila. No chance.” He is a true feminist facing a society whose history is against such a principle.

Lastly, the resilience of a country and its people: “Macedonians. Sassanians. Arabs. Mongols. Now the Soviets. But we’re like those walls up there. Battered, and nothing pretty to look at, but still standing…”

I can’t say I recommend the book. If you can handle the violence against women, it’s a quick read. ( )
  varwenea | May 1, 2016 |
This is a wonderful book about what happens when men become too powerful and women are oppressed. Its also a wonderful story about friendship and love. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
Very good story about feminine condition in Afganistan ( )
  Gerardlionel | Apr 1, 2016 |
Simplistic and emotionally manipulative. It did, however, keep me going, and I did feel engaged with the main female characters to at least some extent. I'm glad to have learned a little more about that region but I recognise that it's basically surface level knowledge. Worth a read, but hasn't attracted me to read any of his other books,
1 vote thebookmagpie | Mar 13, 2016 |
The novel is divided into four parts. The first part focuses exclusively on Mariam, the second and fourth parts focus on Laila, and the third part switches focus between Mariam and Laila with each chapter.

Mariam lives in a kolba on the outskirts of Herat with her mother. Jalil, her father, is a wealthy man who lives in town with three wives and several children. Because Mariam is his illegitimate daughter, she cannot live with them, but Jalil visits her every Thursday. On her fifteenth birthday, Mariam wants her father to take her to see Pinocchio at his movie theater. When he does not show up, she hikes into town and goes to his house. He refuses to see her, and she ends up sleeping on the porch. In the morning, Mariam returns home to find that her mother has hanged herself out of fear that her daughter has deserted her. Mariam is then taken to live in her father's house. Jalil arranges for her to be married to Rasheed, a shoemaker from Kabul who is thirty years her senior. In Kabul, Mariam becomes pregnant seven successive times, but is never able to carry a child to term, and Rasheed gradually becomes more abusive.

In the same neighborhood live a girl named Laila and a boy named Tariq, who are close friends, but careful of social boundaries. War comes to Afghanistan, and Kabul is bombarded by rocket attacks. Tariq's family decides to leave the city, and the emotional farewell between Laila and Tariq ends with them making love. Laila's family also decides to leave Kabul, but as they are packing a rocket destroys the house, kills her parents, and severely injures Laila. Laila is taken in by Rasheed and Mariam.

After recovering from her injuries, Laila discovers that she is pregnant with Tariq's child. After being told that Tariq is dead, she agrees to marry Rasheed, who is eager to have a young and attractive second wife, and hopes to pass her unborn child off as his. When Laila gives birth to a daughter, Aziza, Rasheed is displeased and suspicious, and he soon becomes abusive toward Laila. Mariam and Laila eventually become confidantes. They plan to run away from Rasheed and leave Kabul, but they are caught at the bus station. Rasheed beats them and deprives them of water for several days, almost killing Aziza.

A few years later, Laila gives birth to Zalmai, Rasheed's son. The Taliban has risen to power, and there is a drought, and living conditions in Kabul become poor. Rasheed's workshop burns down, and he is forced to take jobs he is ill-suited for. The family sends Aziza to an orphanage. Then one day, Tariq appears outside the house. He and Laila are reunited, and their passions flare anew. When Rasheed returns home from work, Zalmai tells his father about the visitor. Rasheed starts to savagely beat Laila and Mariam kills Rasheed with a shovel. Afterwards, Mariam confesses to killing Rasheed in order to draw attention away from Laila and Mariam and is executed, while Laila and Tariq leave for Pakistan with Aziza and Zalmai.

After the fall of the Taliban, Laila and Tariq return to Afghanistan. They stop in the village where Mariam was raised, and discover a package that Mariam's father left behind for her: a videotape of Pinocchio, a small pile of money and a letter. Laila reads the letter and discovers that Jalil regretted sending Mariam away. Laila and Tariq return to Kabul and fix up the orphanage, where Laila starts working as a teacher. Laila is pregnant with her third child, and if it is a girl, it is suggested she will be named Mariam.

[edit] Characters
In order of appearance:

Mariam, an ethnic Tajik born in Herat, 1959. She is the illegitimate child of Jalil and Nana, and suffers shame throughout her childhood because of the circumstances of her birth.
Nana is Mariam's mother, who used to be a servant in Jalil's house and had an affair with him. She hangs herself when Mariam is fifteen, after Mariam journeys to Jalil's house on her birthday, which Nana perceives to be betrayal.
Mullah Faizullah, a Sufi, is Mariam's elderly Koran teacher and friend. He dies of natural causes in 1989.
Jalil is Mariam's father, a wealthy man who had three wives before he had an affair with Nana. He marries Mariam to Rasheed after Nana's death, but later regrets sending her away.
Laila is an ethnic Tajik. Born in 1978 to Hakim and Fariba, she is a beautiful and intelligent girl coming from a family in which the father is university-educated and a teacher. Her life becomes tied to Mariam's when she marries Rasheed as his second wife.
Hakim is Laila's father. He is a well-educated and progressive school teacher. He is killed in a rocket explosion along with Fariba.
Fariba is Laila's mother. In Part One, during her brief meeting with Mariam, she is shown as cheerful, but her happy nature is brutally disrupted when her two sons, Ahmad and Noor, leave home to go to war and are later killed. She spends nearly all of her time in bed mourning her sons until the Mujahideen are victorious. She is killed in a rocket explosion along with Hakim.
Rasheed is an ethnic Pashtun, a shoemaker, and the antagonist of the novel. He marries Mariam through an arrangement with Jalil and later marries Laila as well. After years of domestic abuse towards the two women, Mariam bludgeons Rasheed to death with a shovel during a violent struggle.
Tariq, an ethnic Pashtun born in 1976, is a boy who grew up in Kabul with Laila. He lost a leg to a land mine at age 5. They eventually evolve from best friends to lovers and, after a decade of separation, are married and expecting a child by the end of the novel.
Aziza is the daughter of Laila and Tariq, conceived when Laila was 14. Her conception incites Laila to marry Rasheed when the news of Tariq's alleged death arrives in order to be avoid rocket fire, prostitution, or starvation and to hide the child's illegitimacy. Aziza is born in the spring of 1993 and becomes a peacemaking figure between Mariam and Laila when her cries for Mariam's attention trigger Mariam's maternal instinct and respect for Laila.
Zalmai, born in September 1997, is Laila and Rasheed's spoiled son. Despite the conditions presented onto his mother and figurative aunt (Mariam), Zalmai idolizes Rasheed and is unaware of the fact that Mariam killed him. At the end of the novel, Zalmai continuously asks about Rasheed to Laila, who lies to him saying he simply left for some time. After initially blaming Tariq for his father's mysterious disappearance, he comes to accept Tariq as a father-figure.
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 635 (next | show all)
Hosseini doesn’t seem entirely comfortable writing about the inner lives of women and often resorts to stock phrases. Yet Hosseini succeeds in carrying readers along because he understands the power of emotion as few other popular writers do.
 
Anyone whose heart strings were pulled by Khaled Hosseini's first, hugely successful novel, The Kite Runner, should be more than satisfied with this follow-up. Hosseini is skilled at telling a certain kind of story, in which events that may seem unbearable - violence, misery and abuse - are made readable.
added by mikeg2 | editThe Guardian, Natasha Walter (May 19, 2007)
 
Vi følger to afghanske kvinners liv gjennom tre tiår med krig og Talibans tyranni. Mariam er en harami ­– uekte datter av en rik forretningsmann. Laila en oppvakt og moderne jente fra Kabul.

Gjennom skjebnens luner forenes deres veier, og de blir allierte i kamp mot en brutal ektemann og et krigersk, kvinneundertrykkende samfunn.

Hosseini gir en brutal, men nyansert beskrivelse av den patriarkalske despotismen som gjør kvinner avhengige av fedre, ektemenn og sønner. Men tross all sorg og urettferdighet, vold og fattigdom, mord og henrettelser, løfter Hosseini og hans kvinnelige hovedpersoner leseren med seg videre og nekter oss å gi opp håpet.

"Nok en kunstnerisk triumf og garantert bestselger fra denne fryktløse forfatteren."
Kirkus Review

"I tilfelle du skulle lure på om Khaled Hosseinis Tusen strålende soler er like god som Drageløperen er svaret: Nei. Den er bedre."
Washington Post

"En uimotståelig beretning."
NRK Kulturnytt
 

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Khaled Hosseiniprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bourgeois, ValérieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caspersen, Alis FriisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Divjak, DarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elazar, ZilaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hansen, WTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jęczmyk, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kāẓimī, BītāTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kokkinou, VasilikēTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kovačić, MarkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Li, JingyiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lizarazu, Josune ZuzuarreguiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Madureira, ManuelaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mēnōn, RamāTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Middelthon, Elisabet W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moral Bartolomé, GemaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nguyễn, Thị Hương ThảoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nilsson, JohanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nugrahani, BerlianiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Özgören, PürenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pajvančić, NikolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pradhāna, MadhukarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Purić, MirzahTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rouanet, Maria HelenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salīm, QaiṣarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Savikurki, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Šenkyřík, LadislavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sokolova, Sergei︠a︡Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tsuchiya, MasaoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vaj, IsabellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vuelta, María PardoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wang, Ŭn-ch'ŏlTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Windgassen, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
This book is dedicated to Haris and Farah, both the noor of my eyes, and to the women of Afghanistan.
First words
Mariam was five years old the first time she heard the word harami.
Quotations
Nobody could count the moons that shined on her roofs,
or the thousand splendid suns that hid behind her walls
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry the troubled and bitter Rasheed, who is thirty years her senior. Nearly two decades later, in a climate of growing unrest, tragedy strikes fifteen-year-old Laila, who must leave her home and join Mariam's unhappy household. Laila and Mariam are to find consolation in each other, their friendship to grow as deep as the bond between sisters, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. With the passing of time comes Taliban rule over Afghanistan, the streets of Kabul loud with the sound of gunfire and bombs, life a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear, the women's endurance tested beyond their worst imaginings. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism. In the end it is love that triumphs over death and destruction.
Haiku summary
A moving story
Of Mariam and Laila,
Of love and heartache.
(passion4reading)

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Amidst the turmoil and chaos that ensue following the fall of the monarchy in 1973, two Afghan women are thrown together by fate.

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