I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve learned about people, life, and relationships during my first year of college. It’s become clear to me that I live a very privileged life; and although I try to convince myself that I understand the lives of those suffering, I never fully will. Recently, I finished the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Although it’s considered fiction, it’s events are based on the real-life struggle within Afghanistan.
I found this novel difficult to put down; with it’s gripping plot, beautiful characters, and emotionally distressing events. I love learning about people and the dynamics of different relationships, as I try to apply what I learn to my own life and my own relationships. I’ve quickly learned that what often works for some does not work for all (but that’s a totally different topic all together).
The novel spans the three-decade-long struggle in Afghanistan, which continues today. It’s told from the point of view of two different women, whose lives become entangled in the worst way. The novel is focused on the womens’ marital relationships; which is best described by this quote:
“Learn this now and learn it well, my daughter: Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman.”
While reading any book, I often highlight or write down specific quotes I find interesting, and this one definitely stuck. It truly set the stage for the remainder of the book’s events.
I don’t want to give away too much detail, (I want you to read it too!) but the novel follows the trials and tribulations of the two women; while also exposing the historical events and political unrest in Afghanistan. I’d never learned about these events; I merely knew they occurred.
Hosseini is from Afghanistan himself, so the fact the novel is written from his point of view aided in a different understanding of the events. He was also able to describe with full detail the culture and traditions of Aghani culture. I was enthralled by the way the characters in the novel were able to put so much faith into Allah, their prayers and traditions, when their worlds were crumbling down.
“He has created the heavens and the earth with the truth; He makes the night cover the day and makes the day overtake the night, and He has made the sun and moon subservient; each one runs on to an assigned term ; now surely He is the mighty, The Great Forgiver.”
I think that’s one of the things I found most amazing in the book: the characters’ willingness to forgive, and their selflessness in such times of need. I admire that, and often wonder what I would do in a similar situation.
The author included Acknowledgments at the end, where he mentioned there are still so many suffering Afghani refugees in Pakistan and other neighboring countries. We often hear about the struggles with hunger and disease in African countries, but rarely in the Middle East.
I’m not quite sure what else I can say without exposing too much for those who have yet to read the book; except for read it! Here’s one of my other favorite quotes, I love how authors can place words together so seamlessly.
“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”
P.S. this is also the author who wrote The Kite Runner, one of my past summer reading books for AP English in high school 🙂
P.S.S. The author, Khaled Hosseini, created a foundation in his namesake to aid Afghani refugees. Check it out here.