Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Thousand Splendid Suns

It is amazing to me how much more you can learn from a work of fiction than from a history book. In school, the conveyance of names, places, and dates all seem to run together, and simply memorizing them does nothing to actually tell you the history of something. A work of historical fiction, however, not only gives you names, places, and dates, it gives you the story of the people, the story of the culture, and the story of that time in history. It is a story that you will carry with you long after you have read about it, not simply forget after a test.

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Kholed Hoesseini, is a book that will grip you and rip your heart out. It's a book that will speak to you and teach you things you would never learn from a history book. It's a story of two women   living in Afghanistan between the 1970s through the early 2000s, whose lives are suddenly and irrevocably intertwined, for better or worse. This is a story of courage, heartache, brutality, revolution, and hope. From the author's website:

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years—from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to the post-Taliban rebuilding—that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives—the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness—are inextricable from the history playing out around them. 
During somewhat of a reading drought, I picked this book up and I quickly realized I couldn't put it down. I finished it in two days, and it's one of the best books I've read this year. 5 out of 5 stars.


  1. This book was so very good. It was such an eye-opener to what was, and still is, going on in Afghanistan. Like you, once I picked it up I couldn't stop reading. I started it on a Friday on my way home from work and didn't put it down again until I finished it the following afternoon.

  2. I've felt the same way. History lessons just go in one ear and out the other, but a good story will stick and teach me something that stays there. I've retained so much more information from historical fiction than all those lessons in school!