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Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

By Ava Stern

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is a heartbreaking dual-storyline novel that follows two Afghan women brought together by tragedy. The novel opens with Miriam, a product of wedlock living with her protective mother in Herat, Afghanistan, before she moves to Kabul with her new husband. After years of infertility, Miriam lives a life under the control of the Taliban until a local girl moves in as Miriam’s husband Rasheed’s second wife.

Hosseini takes you to an incredible relationship and character development with Miriam and Laila, the new houseguest. This novel exposes the ugliness of war, not shying away from painful details. The continued female perspective gives a voice to any mother, sister, or wife living in Afghanistan under the Taliban and their continued struggles. The two powerful women come together to raise kids, fight adversity, and continue to have hope for themselves and their children.

Singing is forbidden. Dancing is forbidden. Attention women: You will stay inside your homes at all times.. If you go outside, you must be accompanied by a male relative. You will not, under any circumstance, show your face… Girls are forbidden from attending school. All schools for girls will be closed immediately.

Hosseini uses the feelings and inner thoughts of both Miriam and Laila to illustrate the pain and suffering that Taliban rule and Shar’ia law brought on all women in Afghanistan. When reading this book, you will have your heart ripped out of your chest, stomped on, and put right back in. Hosseini gives a voice to a whole group of people who were silenced.

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,

Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.

A Thousand Splendid Suns will leave you crying, I can guarantee it.

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