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A Thousand Splendid Suns

  • Date Submitted: 07/30/2013 03:38 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 50.2 
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Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Type: Novel
The story is told from the perspectives of the two women characters, Mariam and Laila. Each shows how she was raised, what she lost as the result of war, and how in the end, their strength helps each other face their fate.
The story follows the lives of two Afghan women, Mariam and Laila, who become caught up in the repression and misogyny of conservative Islamic culture. Events span the decades from the rule of Afghan kings, the Soviet invasion, the civil war of the Mujahideen warlords, the takeover of the Taliban and the eventual liberation by Allied forces. It gives compelling details about the tragic struggles and sacrifices of the two principal characters as they try to survive through anarchy and extremism in what would become a brutalizing culture.

The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny seen from the perspectives of two women. Mariam is the scorned illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, forced at age fifteen into marrying Rasheed, who grows increasingly brutal when she fails to produce a child. Eighteen years later, Rasheed takes another wife, fourteen year-old Laila, a smart and spirited girl whose only other options, after her parents are killed by rocket fire, are prostitution or starvation. Mariam and Laila become allies in a battle with Rasheed, whose violent abuse is endorsed by custom and law. The author gives a forceful portrait of despotism where women are dependent on fathers, husbands and especially sons, the bearing of male children being their only path to an accepted social status. Each woman in the end is forced to accept a path that will never be completely happy for them; Mariam later sacrifices her life to save Laila after she murders their husband while Laila, even though marrying her childhood love, must find a way to keep the sacrifice Mariam has made from not becoming an act done...


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