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Khaled Hosseini: A Thousand Splendid Suns Essay (Book Review)

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Updated: Jun 10th, 2022


“A Thousand Splendid Suns” is a 2007 book by American writer Khaled Hosseini, his second, after his bestselling debut, The Kite Runner (2003).

The subsequent novel from Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner) has received mostly positive reviews with the Rocky Mountain News saying, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a significant, confrontational work. The wealthy and violent account of Afghanistan offers a backdrop that notifies and drenches the story. Hosseini’s natures, Mariam and Laila, are memorable; their sympathy for each other and love for their children is overwhelming.

“A Thousand Splendid Suns” narrates the story of two women against the backdrop of the previous forty years in Afghanistan. Mariam was born as an unlawful child in 1959 and was violently married to a man from Kabul when she was 15. Her husband was insulting and mean and he obliged her to wear a burqa even though lots of liberal women in Kabul were enabled to go without it. Laila was born just before the Russian assault and had daydreams of a life of schooling and traveling. A bomb kills her family and she recuperates from her injuries in Mariam’s house. While she is occupied, Mariam’s spouse pays attention to Laila. With the appearance of the Taliban, the women have few choices, if any.

While Afghanistan has almost vanished from the newspaper headings, Hosseini’s goes on, and “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, provides all the crowd-agreeable appeal of his success, with some star-crossed devotees thrown in for good calculate. The key action starts in the early 1970s, when 15-year-old Mariam, after her mother’s suicide, is rudely obliged to marry Rasheed, a seriously older Kabul shoemaker. One of the most disgusting men in current literature, Rasheed has ‘diluted bloodshot eyes and fingernails yellow-brown, like the decaying apple. He’s not only unattractive on the appearance: He remains his nubile bride in the burqa, fundamentally joined to the views of their scruffy house where, step by step, year after year, she gradually loses prettiness, teeth, and her combating courage.

All Mariam could do in the appeared circumstances was to tell Laila to leave Kabul with Tariq, Aziza, and Zalmai. Laila at first rejects to leave without Mariam and asks her to come, but eventually, she and Tariq take the kids and depart to Pakistan, where they get married and snuggle down. Mariam gets back to the Taliban, admits to killing Rasheed, and is put to death.

In 2003 (almost two years after the collapse of the Taliban to NATO arms), Laila and Tariq decide to get back to Afghanistan. They settle in the town near Herat where Mariam was grown up, and determine a package that Mariam’s father had left after for her: a cassette of Pinocchio, her split of the family heritage, and a note from Jalil clarifying how much lament he felt in marrying her off just to keep dignity. They get back to Kabul and whip up the orphanage. The book ends with an orientation to them concluding new names for Laila’s new baby, but they’re only disputing male forenames, as Laila already recognizes the name if it’s a girl. It is entailed that the name would be Mariam.

Ethical matters

The narrative magician Khaled Hosseini has interlaced his magnificence around the reader’s heart and mind at once. If The Kite Runner was a gauge for averages, this latest novel is surely a shot conqueror. Hosseini has a ball pointed the most conspicuously simple terms, which have, as the name proposes, the most impressive collision.

Relating the ethical matters, revealed in “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, it is necessary to mention, that it provides a sight of the rise and fall of Kabul, originally set in the Soviet period and moving right into the ominous epoch of Taliban-isation. On the other hand, the concentration of this story is on two women, demonstrating their changeover from a society that squeezed femaleness to a world that sought to smother it. Similar in theme to its precursor, the plot and personalities produced by Hosseini in this book are casualties of deep pain and affecting trauma – the degree to which is unfeasible to figure out right from the very first episode and down to the last word. And yet, this dazzling writer copes to enrapt the readers in the curls and spins of this story rather deep to make the reader believe all the truth of the situation, and realize all the horrors and challenges of military conflict in Afghanistan.

The characters of Splendid Suns are Mariam and Laila – two ladies uniformly strapping in their ethics and values, and yet so various in their characters. Mariam is regarded as a childlike young girl, an illicit child who is taken off the family as a bride to the respected Rasheed. Laila, alternatively, is the brilliant, determined daughter of a highly rational and moderate father. The book exchanges quickly between the self-governing existences of the two women, and every episode offering various viewpoints on the status of a woman in Afghanistan in the years previous to the invasion and its succeeding collapse.

With each page, readers regard Mariam and Laila adjusting in rejoinder to the occasions both in their individual lives as well as the community around them. Their worlds abruptly crash at a time when contentment appears to be a miserable, outlying expectation for each and yet, is the only highway to individual freedom. Under the supremacies of the egotistic Rasheed, the hostile to the Taliban armed forces, these women tolerate tremendous emotional trauma almost every day. Certainly, the root cause of his great success, Hosseini’s words strike home once again. We see this in the simple motherly advice given to Mariam by her mother. Nana: Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always a simple analogy that screams out the plague that is gender inequality.

Most of the touching positions made in the book are meant to evoke compassion for the women, although Hosseini has been careful to make certain that not all Afghani men are seen as the devil’s advocates. Laila’s infancy best friend Tariq is one such instance. As crafted out by the author, Tariq’s personality is the ideal foundation of the company in times of need. I was glad that Hosseini coped to strike this balance in his story, for fear that he would just be written off as a biased, radical feminist.

Although it is necessary to admit, the story leaves the reader deeply saddened and discomforted. Several scenes in the book may seem too heavy to digest, but they are certainly essential to the development of its characters and plot. This roller-coaster ride of lies, trauma, endurance, oppression, love in all its forms, willpower, and political turmoil are truly indicative of Khalid Hosseini’s immense talent as a writer.

If comparing the ethical matters of the novel with the notions by philosophers, it is necessary to mention, that Immanuel Kant commenced his moral hypothesis, which sought to institute the highest standard of ethics. He stated that an ethical system exists whereby moral prerequisites are prerequisites of basis, and the correctness of achievements is resolved by their agreement with moral rules. As a result, a depraved exploit will always be judged an illogical action. The ultimate moral standard is a reliable “working criterion” that confirms to be “sensibly accommodating and hypothetically informative” when applied by normal mediators as conduct for making individual selections.

Aristotle imagined an ethical system that may be expressed in “self-realization”. When an individual performs according to one’s origin and realizes the full potential, one will do well and be satisfied. Aristotle noted, “Nature does nothing in vain.” Consequently, it is essential for individuals to act accordingly with their character Happiness was held to be the eventual aim.


Khaled Hosseini A Thousand Splendid Suns Riverhead publishers; 2007.

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