Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Thousand Splendid Suns

In a previous blog entry I raved about The Kite Runner, the debut novel from novelist Khaled Hosseini. When I heard his second novel was about to be published I was a bit apprehensive. How does someone follow-up such an astounding debut? Would the new book be a thinly veiled rehash of the first? Would Hosseini become a footnote in the literary world as a one-hit wonder?

Happily, Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns is a tremendous novel that in some ways is better than its predecessor. It’s the story of two Afghan women, spanning three decades, whose lives are brought together through a series of tragic events: war, deceptions, betrayal, spousal abuse, murder, and death. It’s sometimes brutal, but always honest. These characters are real. Their lives are a testament to the power of survival.

The book’s title is taken from a 17th Century poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi:

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls...

I admit my ignorance when it comes to Afghanistan. All I really knew was what I’d heard on television and through newspaper, which we all know is a slanted perception. This book gave me a lot of insight and understanding into a culture that is so different from who I am.

There’s a movie of The Kite Runner coming out this year. Let’s hope the filmmakers create a film that compliments the book and doesn’t embarrass it.

I anxiously await Hosseini's next novel.

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