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A Thousand Splendid Suns - by Khaled Hosseini: Read it if You Care About Women's Rights

Updated on November 7, 2016
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I've always been a keen reader and have so many books that I couldn't hope to read them all in my lifetime. I love being surrounded by them

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - My Book Review

A Thousand Splendid Suns is an outstanding book, very sensitively written by an excellent story teller.

It is mainly about the bleak situation for women in Afghanistan, where polygamy and oppression of women is the norm, and it tells the story of two women married to the same brutal man. They did not have any choice but were pushed into forced marriage, and they seemingly had no option but to submit to his cruelty, with devastating results.

Within a year of publication, this book was the best-selling novel in the UK.

The Position of Women in Afghanistan


Another thread running through the book is a love story, with all the difficulties of living in a faction-torn city, Kabul

Khaled Husseini is a very sensitive, poetic writer, and this book is a masterpiece and modern classic. He doesn't criticize or lecture, but just lets the sad story unfold. It is deeply moving, and unforgettable.

Within a year of publication, this book was the best-selling novel in the UK.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - A Great Read, a Brilliant Gift

A Thousand Splendid Suns
A Thousand Splendid Suns

it is a work of art, sensitive, observant, a picture of what it is to be a woman in Afghanistan, but also the story of love, hate, despair and redemption. You'll love it.

This book was, deservedly, a best seller in the UK - a real page-turner and completely engrossing.


How quietly we endure all that falls upon us

— Khaled Husseini

How do You Rate it? - Good, bad or indifferent?

You might find this book depressing, maybe you prefer gentle romance or humour.

Was this book too haunting for you?

On a scale of 1-7, what did you REALLY think?

See results

The Full Quote - from A Thousand Splendid Suns

Mariam lay on the couch, hands tucked between her knees, watched the whirlpool of snow twisting and spinning outside the window. She remembered Nana saying once that each snowflake was a sigh heaved by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world. That all the sighs drifted up the sky, gathered into clouds, then broke into tiny pieces that fell silently on the people below. As a reminder of how people like us suffer, she'd said. How quietly we endure all that falls upon us.

Google Maps - Afghanistan

A markerHere's where the action in A Thousand Splendid Suns takes place -
Kabul Afghanistan
get directions

And the Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hussein - This is his more recent book, published in 2013

And the Mountains Echoed
And the Mountains Echoed

Amazon Book of the Month in May 2013.

This is a brief synopsis:

"Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most."


Below are Some Videos About Women's Rights in Afghanistan - Rights? What rights?

Some thought-provoking films from YouTube about what it's like to be a woman in Afghanistan.

Basically, the message is:

If you want to be safe

  • stay subservient to all males in the household,
  • do the housework,
  • do whatever your husband and any of his family tell you to do,
  • stay covered from head to toe (including your nose and mouth) whatever the weather, even in the burning tropical heat, so that you don't attract attention,
  • don't talk to strange men or any men who are not part of your family,
  • provide sex on demand to your husband whether or not you are willing,
  • and, of course, never get physical with any man to whom you are not married.

If you follow this mode of conduct, you will probably still get beaten up, but might usually avoid serious injury, such as

  • public "judicial" stoning,
  • public whipping,
  • and private assault such as having acid or boiling water thrown over you.

Marital rape is not a crime and violence against women is normalized by the fact that men have a right to chastise women by beating them.

Oh, and I nearly forgot - if you bring shame on your family, by refusing to marry the man they have chosen or sold you to, or if you have a relationship with a man, or behave in any way which could be viewed as unseemly, your family might feel morally bound to murder you. Oddly enough, this is considered to be an honour killing and is socially acceptable.

Just don't try to run away, or it will be the worse for you.

You Can Leave a Comment or Even Write a Poem Here:

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    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I haven't read the book but thank you for the terrific review - Being a free woman all of my life it's still horrible to read about women who are not free to be who they are - I'll take this opportunity to remind only the oppressive men of saying I once heard...'every man had to pass through a woman to get here' -

    • profile image

      burntchestnut 3 years ago

      I haven't read this book, but years ago I read "Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arab" Jean Sasson, and "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop, who was a former Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Texas (U.S.) and escaped the cult with her children.

    • lovedislife profile image

      Rema T V 3 years ago

      Hi Diana,

      What a great book! You have written a good review too. Having read Hosseini's 'Kite Runner', I wanted to read his second book and did read it. Cried more than once - very powerful and emotional read- as I turned the pages fast and was shocked by the speed with which I completed it. Just couldn't put the book down (voted for your 'unputdownable' response in the poll) and this has happened in a long time. Waiting to get my hands on his third book too -I am sure Hosseini will not disappoint his readers. His books have a powerful story line and he knows how to keep his readers'

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 3 years ago

      I too tried to weigh in on the duel, above, but the system didn't seem to want to accept my comment.

      What I was trying to say was just how much I enjoyed this novel. It's a remarkable work - I couldn't stop turning the pages, wanting to find out what would happen to the two female leading characters next.

      Funny, I put off reading it for ages and ages, feeling that it might be too much, too overwhelming to read a story set in Afghanistan in such a difficult time. Sorry now that I didn't read it earlier (which will teach me, perhaps, to listen in future to my mother's book recommendations!) as it's one I will want to read again, more than once.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      I tried participating in the duel, but as happens so often, this one would not let me. I very much enjoyed the book, despite the subject matter. Hosseini kept me turning pages fast.

      Even though I have long known of the oppression women face daily in Afghanistan and elsewhere, I was overwhelmed with the brutality and total lack of freedom these two heroines endured. Hosseini portrayed the women's stories very well.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for this suggestion. I share a list of Books Worth Reading on Pinterest. Hoping maybe I'll get a chance to read them But if I don't get around to reading them, why shouldn't others know about them so they can enjoy them?

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 6 years ago

      Was a fantastic book and enjoyed your review.

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 6 years ago

      Was a fantastic book and enjoyed your review.

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

      Thank you for sharing this... the plight of Afghan women needs more attention!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      Great lens and lots of important points here.

    • CozyKitty profile image

      CozyKitty 6 years ago

      stopped by briefly - will be back when i've finished the book ... (beautiful lens btw)


    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      I have never heard of it, but will look for it now. I have lensrolled it to A Tribute to the Women of Afghanistan which has a review of the movie Osama about a girl who had to pretend to be a boy so she and her mother wouldn't starve.

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I must buy this book right away. You have sold it to me.