Just finished A Thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini.. Thought of writing the review here before it gets influenced by others (and more importantly, before I decide to put off the idea of reviving the blog for another blog-worthy happening)
First things first!! ATSS is not another Kite-Runner, if you were expecting that. Kite-runner was surely better and leaves a lasting impression on you. That said, it still is a well-written book..
< You can keep on reading, no spoilers here 🙂 >
It’s a story of lives of two women trapped in the troubled land of Afghanistan: Mariam and Laila. The two are separated by over 15 years:: One fit to be mother of other ( by Afghani standards of those days off-course),but they end up as the wives of the same man: a brutal orthodox Muslim. Hosseini paints a brilliant picture of their lives against the backdrop of the Afghanistan: with regular updates on the upturn of the events in Afghanistan right from the Soviet invasion through the Taliban Rule to the American war on Afghanistan and post-war recovery: the story covers it all and in almost graphic detail. You can really see all those things happening in front of you.
It’s not only the historical events that Hosseini narrates well, he is a terrific descriptor of emotions too: anger, frustration, helplessness, elation: whatever the emotion may be, you can feel it with Hosseni’s characters. In the Kite-Runner, he mostly portrayed male emotions (Amir and Hassan are still fresh in my mind), but in this work, he goes on the other side and brilliantly captures the emotions of the fair sex. It’s mostly gloomy for Laila and Mariam and you can feel the agony, the suffocation yourself .But the brief patches of happiness that they manage are vividly described too.
Though most of the time, the story grips you well, but on the flip side, there are times when you feel the story is just dragging along. There surely are circumstances where you feel that Hosseini could have been a bit crispier. Particularly, the fourth and last part of the story: where the present tense the author uses seems to indicate that he’s winding it up. (Normally, in many films/books, you’ll find the use of present tense in the epilogue: Something like X is now a Doctor with Indian Army, while Z is now a mother of two) So you expect that the story is coming to end. But it somehow stretches and stretches. But then Hosseini manages to finish it on a high note with two masterstrokes: one after the another: Pinocchio and Mariam 2 ( No!! If you’ve not read the book, I’ve not spoiled any suspense here!!)
In all, a good read. I’d rate it 6.5/10. This is perhaps the first time that I’ve read books by same author back to back. I liked both the books, But appears it’s Afghan culture and history overdose for me now. And though I’d wait for Hosseini’s third book. But I just hope he chooses a different backdrop and theme this time, else it’s “No, Tashakor” from my side.