Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Thousand Splendid Suns” as Want to Read:
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Excerpt

A Thousand Splendid Suns

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  1,197,537 ratings  ·  56,017 reviews
A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan's last thirty years - from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding - that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic ...more
Hardcover, U.S. Edition, 372 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Riverhead Books (first published May 22nd 2007)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Thousand Splendid Suns, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Stephanie Having just finished reading both, I actually had a hard time with this question personally. The thing is, for much of the length of the book, I found…moreHaving just finished reading both, I actually had a hard time with this question personally. The thing is, for much of the length of the book, I found I ENJOYED The Kite Runner maybe a little more than A Thousand Splendid Suns, but not because the latter was any worse.. it just had very few reprieves from the anger and sadness I felt for the characters. It had a huge emotional effect on me, but that effect left me almost dreading reading more for fear of even worse things happening.

The Kite Runner, while incredibly emotional and also incredibly angering at times, I found it was easier for me to get through because there were also a lot of beautiful and more tender moments. So both had a very powerful impact on me, but I still found myself longing for the balance between beauty and sadness in The Kite Runner over the horrible circumstances the characters had to endure in A Thousand Splendid Suns.

All of that said, by the end I really felt like A Thousand Splendid Suns achieved that balance as well- it just took some time to get there. The last quarter or so of the story were so powerful and well written to me, and made me fall in love with these characters and their incredible strength and the relationships between them, rather than just feeling awful and nervous about what more they might have to go through. And that's not to say that it's only the ending that's good- it's more that, like the characters in the story, you just have to keep getting through the really painful stuff in order to appreciate the love and the good that's formed there despite it all as well.

I still do adore The Kite Runner so so much, and in terms of my own personal connection to the story, I'd probably just leave it at that both stories had a huge impact on me and I found them both stunning :) Having completed A Thousand Splendid Suns in its entirely, I don't think I can say I love it more or less than The Kite Runner.. I just adore them both.

In terms of which is technically written better? Hmm... perhaps ATSS, mostly because I thought the structure of it was really lovely, and lent a lot to the story at hand (also because, admittedly, The Kite Runner does get quite heavy on the coincidences toward the end). Then again, I did love the use of Amir's narration in The Kite Runner as well, and the first person narration was something I missed in ATSS until, again, the latter part of the book where I started to see a clear picture of how the structure of the book was being used to enhance the story. So they're both just beautifully written and make excellent use of their respective narrative structures and voice.

So, very long story short: Do read A Thousand Splendid Suns if you enjoyed The Kite Runner! They're both some of my favorite books I've read recently, and stories of true human resilience and love.. and it WAS really great to get a female perspective on the Afghan experience. Just do be prepared that it is not a FUN read, and can be quite tough to get through for the first while.. more so than The Kite Runner which gives you some good breaks from the sadness throughout. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,197,537 ratings  ·  56,017 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Thousand Splendid Suns
Dec 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
August 2007

I was riding in a cab in Bombay recently, and a bookseller on foot approached me at a traffic light with a stack of books. I did my best not to look at the boy, but I couldn't help it. He was waving several books in my face and something caught my eye. I thought my glance was discreet, but he saw me look.. and it was game over. The light turned green right then and the boy starts running with the cab yelling 'Memsahib! Memsahib!'. We're picking up speed.. I'm so scared he's going to g
Like diamonds and roses hidden under bomb rubble, this is a story of intense beauty and strength buried under the surface of the cruel and capricious life imposed upon two Afghani women.
She remembered Nana saying once that each snowflake was a sigh heaved by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world. That all the sighs drifted up the sky, gathered into clouds, then broke into tiny pieces that fell silently on the people below. As a reminder of how people like us suffer, she'd said. How
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone and everyone



In a world where people tend to make assumptions about people and places based on the news, preconceived notions, prejudice, etc., this book needs to be read. I think a good portion of the American population hears “Afghanistan” and they think it is a country full or terrorists and unreasonable Muslim extremists who all band together to plot the downfall of anyone not like them. A Thousand Splendid Suns shows the progression of life in Afghanistan from the Sovie
Emily May
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, historical
It was a warm, sunny day in Montenegro and I was about to set out on a boat trip. I felt certain that a combination of sightseeing and the people I was with would keep me from having much time to read, but I packed a book anyway just in case there was time for a chapter or two in between stops.

A Thousand Splendid Suns happened to be that book. And at the end of the day, when I staggered off that boat, blinking at my sudden exposure to reality, it wasn't because I'd been mesmerised by the stunni
Feb 22, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Daniel by: Rose
Shelves: 2009
It's apparently becoming something of a tradition for me to trash books that are not only widely loved and praised, but were specifically recommended to me by friends. Khaled Hosseini's "A Thousand Splended Suns," I'm sorry to say, is going to get the same treatment. (Forgive me, Rose.) "Splendid Suns" has been so widely read by this point, I won't bother recounting the story, and instead simply list my objections:

- Hosseini seems incapable of creating characters with much depth to them. E.M. Fo
Ahmad Sharabiani
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a 2007 novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini.

It is his second, following his bestselling 2003 debut, The Kite Runner.

Mariam is an illegitimate child, and suffers from both the stigma surrounding her birth along with the abuse she faces throughout her marriage.

Laila, born a generation later, is comparatively privileged during her youth until their lives intersect and she is also forced to accept a marriage proposal
I have never cried while reading a book,like I Did while reading this one!

It is the story of poor, uneducated women who have to endure the hardships of life...
The horrors and terrors that a lot of women have gone through during certain period in Afghanistan, the war torn country ,and the narration through the lives of two women Mariam and Laila..

Going through All kinds of Physical abuse of hitting, kicking and slapping ,brutal beating ,etc….
Struggling the cruel extremely sadistic Rasheed, And s
Henry Avila
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
This novel is about two wonderful, brave , intelligent and resolute women Mariam and Laila their optimistic dreams, aspirations, boundless love... yet dehumanized in perilous, merciless, Afghanistan... continually suffering degradation during the tumultuous years in the long, sad history of that troubled, war ravished nation, Mariam born out of wedlock in Herat, to a wealthy man, lecherous Jalil and Nana, she was a maid at his house, he had already three wives and soon ten other children, sent t ...more
Sep 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People who actually thought "The Kite Runner" was a good book
Recommended to K by: Shelly
To my editor:

Khaled here. As I was reviewing my final draft of “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” some questions occurred to me.

1. Could I make the characters any less complex? Despite my efforts, I feel I haven’t fully achieved the one-dimensionality my readers seemed to love in “The Kite Runner.” Specifically, I’m afraid I may have given Rassan one or two potentially sympathetic moments early on despite his overall abusive personality (although I more than make up for it). I don’t know whether my rea
Ahmad Sharabiani
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a 2007 novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini.

It is his second, following his bestselling 2003 debut, The Kite Runner. Mariam is an illegitimate child, and suffers from both the stigma surrounding her birth along with the abuse she faces throughout her marriage.

Laila, born a generation later, is comparatively privileged during her youth until their lives intersect and she is also forced to accept a marriage proposal
" One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls."

There are very few books that make me feel a tempest of emotions: make me happy and proud at one moment and break my heart in the next; make me chuckle at a few scenes and leave me in tears later, make me love a few characters and hate the others- and this is one such book.

The novel focuses on the life of two Afghan women-Mariam and Laila who come from different walks of life.
Amalia Gkavea
‘’Learn this now and learn it well, my daughter. Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.’’

‘’This is what it means to be a woman in this world.’’

It is difficult, so difficult to read a book you don’t want to touch. A book that gnaws at your heart and spits out the pieces with glee. Because even though you know the truth, you don’t want to face it. You are not ready, you are not prepared. You refuse to ‘’live’’ in a world that jumps fr
Lucy Langford
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
But this book deserves a thousand splendid stars- it is a true masterpiece and a wonderful book!

"Learn this now and learn it well, my daughter: Like a compass needle that points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman. Always. You remember that, Mariam."

This story chronicles 30 years of Afghan history; from Soviet invasion, to the Taliban, to post-Taliban. This story is told from the perspective of two women; born a generation apart, with different ideas of love and family, two
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
in true hosseini fashion, this book does not shy away from heavy, and sometimes uncomfortable, topics. but i realised that this book should make the reader feel uncomfortable. the tragedies that women face, even today, are crimes against humanity. but the strength of the two women this story follows is deeply moving and incredibly inspiring.

to save my heart from emotional devastation, i tried to focus on the positives of this story, which can be summed up in this quote:

‘they would make new l
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved this!
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star
I didn't know whether to keep on reading or DNF this book. I didn't know if I should give it 5 stars or 2. The thing is, I cannot abide extreme hardship, pain, and suffering on behalf of the characters that are in the books I read.

I'm certain that this is to be the last book I'd read this year. And what a book did it prove to be! The mind reels at the barbarism that can be eked from such perverted ways of thinking. Reason, rationality are out of the window.

I know I haven't mentioned the plot or
Jul 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Suns is part historical fiction, part social commentary and part kick-in-the-throat storytelling. A friend of mine said that Suns is a metaphor for Afghanistan but I found it illustrative of Afghanistan's weary and violent history; I found it brutally educational. When I had studied in Germany in 1987, I lived in an international dormitory. I asked my neighbor, Hyder, where he was from, he leaned in to me with a devilish grin and hissed “Afghanistan!” While others found this amusing, the effect ...more
enqi ☁️✨
Each snowflake was a sigh heard by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world. All the sighs drifted up the sky, gathered into clouds, then broke into tiny pieces that fell silently on the people below. As a reminder of how women suffer.

Poignant, stunning, and impossibly heartrending, A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS was one of the best and most meaningful books I've read because it embodies all the themes and values regarding gender identity and disparity that has been much debated by society for a
I bought this book on November 8, 2016, and then I somehow picked it up by sheer coincidence precisely on November 8, 2020.

In spite of this divine coincidence, I did not like the read much.

If I had read it when I actually bought it, I probably would have, but I think I've evolved past this kind of unilateral-view things-are-sad white-woman-book-club energy. Societally, we all have. In the early 2000s, maybe we only had room for 1 feeling about Afghanistan (or okay, 1 in addition to War), but now
Lynne King
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started this book with high expectations. I had been overwhelmed with every conceivable emotion when I read the “Kite Runner” and just couldn’t believe that his second book, “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, could possibly be as good.

So it was with trepidation and yet excitement that I read this book. I had left the last dozen or so pages to read until the following morning, as I didn’t want to quite let it go, and as I sat there at 7 a.m. on the terrace, with a cup of coffee in my hand, I slowly fi
Whitney Atkinson
4.75 stars

This book doesn’t have the full, 100% impact of WOW THAT WAS AMAZING but it was pretty damn good. This is my favorite type of story that slowly weaves its threads and develops a narrative over generations, and just when you think all of the ends are tied up, it comes full circle and punches you in the gut all over again. This book is just as empowering as it is tragic, and Hosseini is just masterful at storytelling at this magnificent scope. The writing is gorgeous without being longwi
Nandakishore Varma
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Dem by: Bookclub Read
Beutifully Written, Poignant and moving. A novel that deserves to be read and re-read.

I first read A Thousand Splendid Suns in 2010 and was so moved by the story of Marian and Laila that I planned on re-reading it within a year but the best laid plans and all that.....
Finally came up in an online book group read and just couldnt wait to read it again to see would I react the say way as I did seven years ago.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history an
Aj the Ravenous Reader

At 15, while I was still playing jack stones or watching Japanese anime, the girls in the story perpetually worried that any day they would be given away to some stranger in marriage. While I complained about the heat during bedtime, these girls feared they would wake up tomorrow without a home and a family or worse, would not wake up altogether. What hurt me most is the thought that although the characters and settings may be fictional, the events in the entire story did take place in Afghanist
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like Hosseini's writing and opt for his books anyday if I have to reread a book.

But this one turned out to be quite disappointing for me.

The high rating of 4 stars still may be attributed to the simplistic yet straightforward and effective writing (yes, it's the writing that makes everything work for me to actually like a book in the first place) that made the characters, the story and the ending quite believable.

But it's the lack of character development (of the seeming) main character that
Fabian {Councillor}
Though not as popular as Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, "A Thousand Splendid Suns" is an extremely important novel with a huge number of interesting themes which are explored in its rather short amount of pages. In this family saga and moving tale of friendship, hate and love at the same time, Hosseini abbreviates several decades of important history into a fictional story spanning more than thirty years.

It's a depressing novel, consisting of a rather dark atmosphere and many chapters which
Dana Ilie
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Thousand Splendid Suns is a book by Khaled Hosseini. I found this book emotionally captivating and also a real eye opener, I had never before truly understood the hardship of female life under Taliban rule.
Undeniably Khaled Hossaini is a great story teller. His depictions of Afghanistan and his characters bring them to life for the reader.
Overall, it was a beautiful book that really opened my eyes to the wonderful people of Afghanistan and their history and how many women are still mistreated
Tom Carrico
Dec 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Book Review

A Thousand Splendid Suns
By Khaled Hosseini

Reviewed by Tom Carrico

It’s amazing that this author has the #1 fiction paperback (The Kite Runner) and the #1 fiction hardback (A Thousand Splendid Suns) on “The New York Times” bestseller list. The Kite Runner has sold over four millions copies since its release in 2003. It is a hauntingly written novel set in war-torn Afghanistan. It is exceptionally well plotted and opens the window on a part of the world that very few of us are familiar w
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I felt a little intrepid about reading this novel because I loved The Kite Runner so much, but A Thousand Splendid Suns is equally superb.

The plot centers around the lives of the two distinct protagonists, Mariam and Laila. Mariam is the illegitimate daughter of wealthy businessman Jalil but is forced to live with the stigma of being a "harami." She lives an isolated life with her mother, but her father visits weekly. Mariam's adoration for her father and desire for his acceptance leads to a fa
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Kite Runner: A Portrait of the Marc Forster Film
  • In Search of the Kite Runner
  • The Help
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • The Book Thief
  • Water for Elephants
  • The Alchemist
  • Life of Pi
  • The Secret Life of Bees
  • All the Light We Cannot See
  • My Sister's Keeper
  • The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon, #2)
  • The Time Traveler's Wife
  • The Lovely Bones
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Girl on the Train
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)
See similar books…
Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. In 1970 Hosseini and his family moved to Iran where his father worked for the Embassy of Afghanistan in Tehran. In 1973 Hosseini's family returned to Kabul, and Hosseini's youngest brother was born in July of that year.
In 1976, when Hosseini was 11 years old, Hosseini's father obtained a job in Paris, France, and moved the family there. They were u

Articles featuring this book

Well, here we all are, sheltering in place, buying canned beans, and generally trying to figure out how to stay inside and keep our minds busy....
95 likes · 67 comments
“Marriage can wait, education cannot.” 2405 likes
“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”
More quotes…