A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini

“Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move people to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with startling heroism.”

found this book at a resort library in Mexico, a strange place and time to read it for sure, but I loved it. Juxtaposed sharply my poolside deck chair and virgin pina colada, the oppressive world of the novel was stark and abrasive, exactly what I believe it was meant to be. The storytelling is compelling; poetic and powerful. The tragic tale of these Afghani women is suspenseful, heartbreaking and inspirational. The characters and their circumstances are as mesmerizing as they are terrible and Hosseini once again captures an unforgettable picture of life for the oppressed. Historically fascinating and beautifully told, this is a story that sticks with you long after you put down the book.
Recommended for readers aged 16 and up, heavy issues and violence. 5 stars.

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The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

“Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to gain the approval of his father and resolves to win the local kite-fighting tournament, to prove that he has the makings of a man. His loyal friend, Hassan promises to help him – for he always helps Amir – but this is 1970’s Afghanistan and Hassan is merely a low-caste servant who is jeered at in the street, although Amir feels jealous of his natural courage and the place he holds in his father’s heart. But neither of the boys could foresee what would happen to Hassan on the afternoon of the tournament, which was to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return, to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.”

Don’t remember how I got my hands on this book, but I distinctly remember finding it excellent. It was the book that changed the books I read; since then I have been fascinated with historical and political fiction based in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan (and various other Middle Eastern nations) and India. It was such a vibrant and compelling story that swept me along through an intriguing and enlightening cultural experience. The tale is an honest and tragic one, simply devastating in parts. It keeps you asking questions, big ones about loyalty, heroism, redemption, forgiveness and guilt.

Again, some heavy issues and moderate violence, recommended for ages 16 and up. 4 1/2 stars.