Patricia Devereux's Reviews > A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
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Jun 01, 2009

it was amazing
Read in May, 2009

Everyone was enchanted with the author's "Kite Runner," but this book is equally compelling. It is about the women of Afghanistan, the utter powerlessness they have over their lives and those of their children.

Three generations of women are beaten down and enslaved by their Muslim culture. The men, with the exception of the one-legged Tariq, are unrelenting villains. It is remarkable that a male product of that culture was able to recognize and so accurately record women's sufferings.

The Afghans' history of oppression in the last 50 years is well-documented, from sparring warlords to deposed kings to the invasion by the Soviets to the barbaric excesses of the Taliban.

This novel is especially a propos now, considerng our involvement in Afghanistan's civil war. It has changed my view of the entire conflict and its victims. This is a novel about the sufferings inflicted upon civilians in war -- it should be required reading for any Republican congressmember contemplating voting for more funding for the Afghan war.

For all its bleakness and pessimism, this book is also about the power of hope and love and friendship between women, as exemplified by Miriam's sacrifices for Leila and her children. You will cry several times ...

Note: I remember the shock and horror I felt when I saw my first woman in a burka (in Singapore), but this book makes me realize what they are really all about and how some women may welcome their use. (Boy howdy -- am I gonna get pilloried over THAT statement ...)
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