Paulliver (paulliver) wrote in bookish,
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“A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini

I don’t know why he titled this novel “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” but that mystery aside it has the same hypnotically beautiful sadness I found in “The Kite Runner,” and perhaps more. There was less relief from the cruelty of Afghan culture for these women characters than the boys of “Kite Runner.” Despite the goodness in many of the people, Hosseini’s assertion, via a character, that the only enemy the Afghans cannot defeat is themselves rings true. You know something is wrong when being ruled by a Soviet puppet was the soft option.

Mariam is a good representative of how hard it is to be good. Growing up, she is the focal point of other people’s generosity and hypocrisy, love and bitterness, and then is married off to a man who becomes abusive after she can’t have children. Her husband nearly beats the love out of her, until he marries a younger woman whose tragic separation from the man she loves is the tale of part two. How these two women rebuild each other is the rest of the story, and I will tell you no more.

There is little quoting of the Koran in “A Thousand Splendid Suns”; the actions of the men express the divided feelings within Islamic culture concerning the status of women. That individual men either cherish or oppress women seems to have more to do with their individual natures rather than scripture, but the easy success of the oppressors speaks volumes to the cultural interpretation of Islam.
Tags: author: h, genre: fiction, review
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