Book Review of A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is one of the most loved book. In this book, the author has given us a life struggle of the women in a country which was male chauvanisitic and ruled by Taliban. The book is an eye opener and is so engrossing that you can feel you are living the lives of one of those characters who are sufferers.


The cover is beautiful and highlights the girl who seems going somwhere in a desert place. Well, this picture clearly reminds us of the incident that took place in the novel where the protagonist, Mariam gets married at a tender age of 15 and is sent to some other place from her hometown Herat. The Title is adapted from a poem iwritten by Sahib Tabrezi and it is again intriguing. The title arises the urge in the readers to read this page turning book.

 A Thousand Splendid Suns’ is a contemporary novel that tells a gripping story of two women with contradictory attitudes and how their decisions shape future generations. A marvelous work of fiction which brings an untold side of Afghanistan in limelight, this novel is irresistible. Khalid Hosseini has once again depicted a plethora of human emotions and beauty of Afghanistan through his distinctive story telling. These books became number one New York Times bestseller for fifteen weeks following its release and according to the author, it is a “mother-daughter story”. It won the Book Sense book of the year award for fiction and the Richard and Judy Best Read of the Year in 2008.

The Plot is well knit and the story revolves around the lives of two women, Mariam and Laila. Mariam is just 15 when she gets married and is sent to some other town to start her new life. Life is hard for her and then Laila happens to her in an accident. Rasheed and Mariam take good care of this girl but later on Rasheed marries her. Both develop an understanding relationship.

This book revolves around the major theme which is, women in Afghanistan. The author has elucidated the tough life of women It is strange like how they are treated. Mariam is a carefree girl who is a harami, the illegitimate child but she never feels so. But when her mother dies, things change for her. Her own father marries her off which bitters the relationship. She feels betrayed by the only man whom she trusted so much and till her last breath she doesn’t see him. The same is the case with Laila. She is the victim of this cruel society. When she was a child she is allowed to hang out and roam with Tariq but after she grew up she was asked to stay at home. Many restrictions were laid on her. Even she had to get married to an older man, Rasheed just to save herself.

The main characters in this book are Mariam and Laila. Both are inter related to one another. They turn out to be true confidantes and the mouthpieces of KHaled Hosseini. Other characters also played their parts in the plot construction. Both are flat characters and they remain the same till the end of the book.

The style of writing used by the author is mind blowing. It is simple, telegraphic and complicated as well. The author has used multiple languages like Pashtun which was understandable. The use of references, songs strongly suppport the agenda of writing this novel. The use of epistolary technique is mind blowing. This can be noticed in the last when Laila reads Jalil’s letter for Mariam. Further, the descriptions are realistic as they gives us a true picture of riots, war, curfews and the damage these people went through followed by those typical rules for men and women set by these Talibans.

We often hear about these issues but never thought about it deeply but this book sends us in a trance where one can feel these sufferings and yes, we do shed fresh tears whenever we read it. We feel bad for that 15 year old girl , Mariam whose not yet matured but is married off. We feel bad for all those things that these characters suffer be it men or women. This type of atmosphere and style of writing reminds of Thomas Hardy’s JUde The Obscure and Dicksian style which focussed on ‘MOmentray Pleasures’. Honestly speaking, there was no happiness in this book, all gloominess but the segment before Mariam’s wedding and Laila’s time with her teen lover, Tariq followed by the ending gives some good time to the readers. The authors note is fantastic and this gives you a better picture of the author’s point of view.

This book is available on pustakmandi so grab your copies:

About the Author



Khalid Hosseini rose to fame with his debut novel, ‘The Kite Runner’ which got universal acclam. Hosseini is an Afghan-born American novelist and physician who was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and moved to France and finally settled in United States of America. He graduated from Independence High School in San Jose in 1984 and has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Santa Clara University, in 1988. He completed his M.D. in 1993 from University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. His book ‘The Kite Runner’ spent 101 weeks on the The New York Times Best Seller list and is regarded as one of the best contemporary works on Afghanistan.

Book Review of Color Purple by Alice Walker

Usually I write my review in a pattern but for this particular book I would like to talk about it in paragraphs as I want to add my personal comments too in it. Alice Walker represents the Black Feminism Movement and this novel is a perfect example of this. I read this novel as it was in my course. I must thank the people who introduced this to our Syllabi. I was stunned to know that such discrimination exists.


I am not going to talk about the appearance and other things which I used to talk in my previous reviews. I will talk about the main aspects of this book.

“The Color Purple” is foremost the story of Celie, a poor, barely literate Southern black woman who struggles to escape the brutality and degradation of her treatment by men. The tale is told primarily through her own letters, which, out of isolation and despair, she initially addresses to God. As a teen-ager she is repeatedly raped and beaten by her stepfather, then forced by him into loveless marriage to Albert, a widower with four children. To Albert, who is in love with vivacious and determinedly independent blues singer named Shug Avery, Celie is merely a servant and an occasional sexual convenience. When his oldest son, Harpo, asks Albert why he beats Celie, he says simply, “Cause she my wife.” For a time Celie accepts the abuse stoically: “He beat me like he beat the children. Cept he don’t never hardly beat them. He say, Celie, get the belt… It all I can do not to cry. I make myself wood. I say to myself, Celie, you a tree. That’s how come I know trees fear men.”

But during the course of the novel, which begins in the early 1900’s and ends in the mid-1940’s, Celie frees herself from her husband’s repressive control. Bolstered by her contacts with other women and by her affection for her yonger sister, Netti – who with Celie’s help has fled to Africa with a missionary group – Celie eventually leaves Albert and moves to Memphis, where she starts a business designing and making clothes.Ironically, it is Ablert’s real love and sometime mistress, Shug Avery, and his rebellious daughter-in-law, Sofia, who provide the emotional support for Celie’s personal evolution. And, in turn, it is Celie’s new understanding of an acceptance of herself that eventually lead to Albert’s re-evaluation of his own life and a reconciliation among the novel’s major characters. As the book ends, Albert and Shug sit with Celie on Celie’s front porch, “rocking and fanning flies,” waiting for the arrival of Netti and her family.

The plot summary gives us a clear picture of the discriminations Celie goes through. It further tells us about the various themes of the novel. The main theme is double discrimination. In this, Celie goes through rape by her own father and being ill treated by her husband. Even she is beaten brutally. She is also judged on the basis of her colour.

The other theme we come across is Male chauvanism. The male characters in this novel discriminate the female ones. They beat the females, rape them and hurt them.

A theme of Lesbianism can be noticed here. Usually, this concept is considered as a taboo in many countries but when we see this side and come across it we can say that yes, lesbianism is not wrong. There is very strong reason why this happened in the novel. Celie is beaten by her husband and one day when she comes across Shug Avery, she is surprised to see that she is bold, confident. This makes her admire her. Further, she began to confide in Shug. Shug gave her strength emotionally and physically. She felt safe in her arms. Shug made her an independent woman.

I personally feel Alice struggled so much to come out the shackles of male chauvanistic society and she confidently presented this book. I am impressed and still shocked that how could a father rape his daughter?  But this harsh reality is brought into notice.

Coming to the characters,I would say the female characters left me in an awe. Especially, Celie’s character. In the first part we see her weak, tormented girl and latter half showcase a new Celie who is independent and more confident. Shug Avery’s character is the stongest as she comes as a ray of hope in Celie’s life. Even Nettie has her own story to tell and how she comes out of it boldly. Whereas male characters are villaneous as Satan.

As far as the language is concerned. The book has errors. O wait a minute, they are not even considered because the whole book is written from the perpective of a 16 year old girl. The technique used in this novel is epistolary. This is one of the mind boggling book I have read. I could feel the sufferings of the characters and I have shed numerous tears.

Where you can buy this book?

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