A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

77%

49 Critic Reviews

His tale is a powerful, harrowing depiction of Afghanistan, but also a lyrical evocation of the lives and enduring hopes of its resilient characters.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

After 103 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and with four million copies of The Kite Runner shipped, Khaled Hosseini returns with a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms his place as one of the most important literary writers today.

Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul--they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.
 

About Khaled Hosseini

See more books from this Author
Khaled Hosseini was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, the son of a diplomat whose family received political asylum in the United States in 1980. He now lives in Northern California, and is a physician. The Kite Runner is his first novel.
 
Published November 25, 2008 by Riverhead Books. 379 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, War, Science & Math. Fiction
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Critic reviews for A Thousand Splendid Suns
All: 49 | Positive: 39 | Negative: 10

Kirkus

Excellent
on Mar 01 2007

Another artistic triumph, and surefire bestseller, for this fearless writer.

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NY Times

Below average
on Jun 03 2007

Though fascinating, the historical background...isn’t always well integrated into the plot. And the transitions between Mariam’s and Laila’s perspectives can be bumpy.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on May 30 2007

In the end it is these glimpses of daily life in Afghanistan that make this novel so stirring, and that distract attention from its myriad flaws.

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NY Times

Above average
on May 29 2007

In the end it is these glimpses of daily life in Afghanistan...that make this novel, like “The Kite Runner,” so stirring, and that distract attention from its myriad flaws.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by spruzie on Apr 25 2014

The protagonists, Mariam and Laila, are such inspirational women that you aspire to have the same toughness of spirit as they do, and to stand up for oppressed women around the world...in my opinion, this is Hosseini's best work, outshining even the highly acclaimed The Kite Runner.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by ThePinkElephant on Jun 23 2013

By the end you are not only left with a tear, but with a fire lit within. It is above all a story of hope and of life, the heroism that comes with love and the inevitable strife that comes with living. Inspirational, outstanding, every man and women must read this tale.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Chandrahas Choudhury on Jun 02 2007

Some of Hosseini's characters, such as the demonic Rasheed, still feel more like obstacle courses that must be overcome by his battling lead characters. He still italicises far too many sentences and his chapter endings are like an archive of narrative alarm bells. But this is a good and readable work.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Natasha Walter on May 18 2007

...Hosseini doesn't get bogged down in the ins and outs of Afghan politics. His energetic narrative speeds on through the political and domestic worlds, as we move through the tragedies that fall on Laila's family.

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Guardian

Above average
on Jun 03 2007

He still italicises far too many sentences and his chapter endings are like an archive of narrative alarm bells. But this is a good and readable work.

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Guardian

Above average
on May 19 2007

His desire to believe in the eventual redemption of Afghanistan means that the ending verges on the schmaltzy.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent

His tale is a powerful, harrowing depiction of Afghanistan, but also a lyrical evocation of the lives and enduring hopes of its resilient characters.

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Blog Critics

Below average
Reviewed by Ted Gioia on May 30 2007

By all means, take his advice and give generously to his preferred charity. But if you are picking out your summer reading list, give this one a pass.

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Blog Critics

Below average
on May 30 2007

...great fiction requires more than good intentions. Hosseini closes his book with an afterword which comes across as a public service announcement for the United Nations...if you are picking out your summer reading list, give this one a pass.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Jackie Sonnenberg on Mar 25 2009

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a hard-hearted novel taking place during the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan, putting human strength and spirit to its ultimate test.

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Book Reporter

Excellent
on Feb 24 2011

...A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS is an absorbing novel that is not afraid to tackle challenging subject matter in an intelligent and thoughtful way.

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AV Club

Above average
on Aug 09 2007

A stronger sense of place, of history, or even of a broader world outside all the agony-aunt miserabilism might have suggested that there's more to this book than just feeling really bad in order to feel good when it's all over.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
on May 18 2007

Childhood promises are sacred; true love never dies; justice will be done; sisterhood is powerful. It's unrealistic, and almost impossible to resist.

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The Bookbag

Below average
on Jan 09 2011

It's just that the book isn't very good. It runs at a breakneck pace and you feel as though you're in the middle of a novelisation of The Terminator...It's melodramatic, over-theatrical, unshaded, and just plain schmaltzy half the time.

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Pajiba

Good
Reviewed by Figgy on Feb 05 2009

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a story full of sadness and tragedy, but there are moments of true beauty and happiness in the lives of Mariam and Laila, and these are just as heart-wrenching and powerful.

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Open Letters Monthly

Above average
Reviewed by Rohan Maitzen on Apr 05 2009

Dry, perhaps, despite the punitive implications of what he’s describing, and I realize too that there are risks...in presenting as well as receiving a novel in too documentary a spirit.

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Open Letters Monthly

Above average

Hosseini has rigged a framework of appealing scope: just imagine what a writer with range, a gift for language, and long-term dedication could do with it.

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About.com

Good

Hosseini has an unerring ear for just the right phrase, the exact descriptive words to evoke both the reality and the deeper meaning of a particular scene.

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About.com Bestsellers

Good

Hosseini has written another page turner that moves quickly despite how difficult it is to internalize the sad and violent content that runs throughout the book. This is not light reading, but it is very good reading.

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BlogHer

Excellent
Reviewed by leahmsilverman on Mar 25 2013

I finished this book not only feeling like I had more of an awareness of the life of a woman in Afghanistan, but also feeling hopeful and feeling grateful for my own life.

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Oprah.com

Good
Reviewed by Cathleen Medwick on Jun 01 2007

...Hosseini movingly examines the connections between unlikely friends, the fissures that open up between parents and children, the intransigence of quiet hearts.

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Women's Inc.

Good
Reviewed by Susan O'Keefe on Jun 11 2014

It’s the full circle of life, love, trials and triumphs. “A Thousand Splendid Suns” is a poignant reminder of the resilience of the human spirit.

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Teen Ink

Good
on Jun 16 2014

Every tear jerking, heart lifting, unpredictable, powerful, mesmerizing, heart breaking, and loving moment that Khaled Hosseini had filled his pages with. I don’t think there is any reason not to read this book.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Angela on Jun 16 2014

Many cultures of the world put a higher value on men than on women. Sadly, women often adopt the same attitude. In Hosseini,s book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, the protagonists Marian and Laila are initially no different. However, they find their strength, not through the relationships they had with men but with each other.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by AwesomeAnushka on Jun 16 2014

All in all, I loved A Thousand Splendid Suns. Another masterpiece by the author, after the spectacular- The Kite Runner.

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Teen Ink

Good
on Jun 16 2014

We are just as guilty as they, when we ignore the truth. I encourage you to read this novel, for it will change your life and way of thinking.

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Teen Ink

Good
on Jun 16 2014

I enjoyed this book very much and strongly recommend it to anyone who likes dramatic, well-thought-out stories with plot twists.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Max on Jun 16 2014

Even though “A Thousand Splendid Suns” does have slips, the goods outweigh the bads. I recommend it to anyone who to wants to read a gut-wrenching story about social injustice and living in wartime.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Nick P. on Jun 16 2014

Not only does Hosseini tell a story of women trying to survive, but he gives the reader knowledge of a lifestyle that is foreign, yet so real. I would recommend A Thousand Splendid Suns to any reader who has a thirst for knowledge and is looking for an engrossing story.

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Yahoo! Voices

Above average
Reviewed by Alyssa Ast on Mar 17 2010

A Thousand Splendid Suns will definitely take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions as you experience the culture difference. While parts of it may drag a little, it's 100% worth reading to the end.

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Yahoo! Voices

Good
Reviewed by Christine Zibas on Oct 27 2009

This Hosseini story will stick with you. It will be hard to pace yourself with this novel--the story is so gripping that you will want to race to the end. Then you'll be like me, waiting yet again for the next great novel by Khaled Hosseini to hit the bookstore shelves.

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Yahoo! Voices

Good
Reviewed by Xian So So on Oct 02 2007

I highly recommend this book and the authors' previous, The Kite Runner. Both will thrill, inspire, challenge and open your' heart in surprising ways.

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Gather Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Christine Zibas on Jul 13 2006

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a great book on many levels and makes a gripping summer read. As good as any best seller you are likely to find on the New York Times list, and probably better than most, A Thousand Splendid Suns should make its way into your beach bag this summer.

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http://skrishnasbooks.com

Good
Reviewed by Swapna Krishna on Jan 02 2009

I can’t recommend A Thousand Splendid Suns highly enough. Hosseini has created a masterpiece that anyone can appreciate. It’s a novel that will stay with me for a long time.

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Jules' Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Jules on Feb 13 2011

I would definitely recommend it to read. Although, I would warn that there are some graphic and violent scenes in the book, and I think some readers would be turned off by this. But it is worth a try, it was fantastic book.

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The Blue Bookcase

Good
Reviewed by Christina on Jun 16 2014

It's heartwrenching, but in the end, not depressing. Just prepare yourself for an emotional experience, and don't give up hope for the characters.

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Helen's Book Blog

Excellent
Reviewed by Helen on Aug 14 2010

The characters, both good and bad, are so real I feel like I know them and can visualize them clearly as I read. They are realistic, believable, and each plays an important role without extraneous characters cluttering up the book.

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ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

Above average
Reviewed by Lisa Hill on Sep 26 2013

The satisfying resolution of Laila’s circumstances is not entirely convincing but it offers the hope that Western readers need to believe in. Whether that credence will extend to believing in the characterisation of Tariq as a sensitive modern Afghan male is a matter of doubt.

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Books: A True Story

Good
Reviewed by Jessica on Oct 22 2013

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 today.

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Karan Brooks

Good
on Jan 05 2014

I didn’t want this book to end. My heart soared, it plummeted; I gasped, cried, held my breath and as I read felt physically pummeled then embraced, experiencing the 30 years the tale covers...

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Between The Pages

Excellent
Reviewed by Daisy on Mar 27 2012

I absolutely loved this book, for me it lived up to the hype and I immediately passed it on to my mother, who I'm sure will enjoy it as well.

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Fiction Book Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Citra Florenca on Oct 17 2011

A Thousand Splendid Suns to me, is a must read, even if you don't like historical fiction...I don't like sad books, however sometimes we need something different. It dried my tears, but I don't regret reading every single page of it.

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http://www.wsws.org

Good
Reviewed by Harvey Thompson on Aug 08 2009

It remains to be seen, should Hosseini return to the subject of modern Afghanistan, whether he will act as a tame “critical supporter” for interventionist forces in the region or will evolve into a writer of genuine interest who develops the undeniable strengths of his most recent book.

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One Literature Nut

Good
Reviewed by Becky on Jul 29 2009

Thankfully, Hosseini was able to conclude the story in a believable way that didn't dishonor the characters nor merely gloss over the trials that all had been through. This is an amazing story, that is not easy to read, but well worth every second.

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Wessex Scene

Good
Reviewed by Emily Anderson on Feb 21 2011

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a nail-biting read which will have you on the edge of both your seat and your emotions, and I definitely cannot wait to read Hosseini’s other best-seller The Kite Runner.

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Reader Rating for A Thousand Splendid Suns
91%

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Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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