A Thousand Splendid Suns

First, my thanks to Techfun for suggesting this one to me.   It’s taken me an awful long time to read it but I have and I’m glad I did.   In Friday’s post I pointed out that art can be much more effective than traditional in conveying complex realities.   I believe that A Thousand Splendid Suns is an excellent example of a novel that conveys the complex and messy truths of the real life story through novels that, imho, do a better job than history books sometimes in educating a mind about a particular place and peoples.    I previously posted about Gary Geddes’  Kingdom Of Ten Thousand Things which touches briefly on the plight of present day Afghanistan before rushing off to pursue a very different main theme.

Hosseini has written a masterful story with deeply compelling characters who face an ever changing and worsening hell as their country is taken over first  by the Soviets then by the  Taliban and finally the cautious hopes for a rebuilt and thriving modern Afghanistan after Bush sent in the troops, while fully acknowledging the long hard road ahead for that country.   I think this is a very important novel because it conveys the reality of what Afghanistan and its peoples have been through far more compellingly than any history book could, at least for me.  It is at times an almost unbearably sad tale but the story of the shoemaker’s two wives who come to love each other and their children while suffering the invariably cruel at times violently abusive affections of a man who treats them primarily as servants and in a real sense property.   It was a real eye opener.

An extraordinary book.   Very Highly Recommended.


I mentioned once before that at the library where I work we shelve junior or "juvenile non-fiction in the main stacks with adult non fiction.   And I say without hesitation that grown-ups as well as fifth graders writing school reports will benefit greatly from this clear and concise geography book.   Just recently published in 2008 this Scholastic publication does a great job of presenting basic information about Afghanistan and even manages to convey a great deal of the complexity in clear and simple terms.   An excellent companion when reading A Thousand Splendid Suns.     Afghanistan by Terri Willis     Recommended.