Let’s Read: A Thousand Splendid Suns


A Thousand Splendid Suns by acclaimed novelist Khaled Houssini will be the first book shared with you this year.  Like his other award-winning novel, The Kite Runner, Houssini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns takes place in Afghanistan, following the lives of two women from the early 1960’s to the late 2000’s.

In the novel, readers meet Mariam, a young girl plagued with troubles from a young age.  A few chapters in, the birth of the second prominent character, Laila occurs only mere blocks from Mariam’s home.  From early stages of the book, we see these two women’s’ lives are destined to be intertwined.


As time progresses, tragedy strikes Laila, forcing her to be taken under the care of Mariam and her husband.  The two women initially are unable to get along, yet as the story progresses and becomes more complex, we see the two learn that they had more in common with one another than they originally thought.

One of the very best aspects of this novel is its historical accuracy.  As in Houssini’s equally-great novel, The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns takes place during the invasion of Afghanistan by the Russians, who bring communism with them. This  is not, however, just a backdrop for the story.  We see this effect the character Laila personally, as her two older brothers are killed in the conflict against the Russians.

The reoccurring themes in the novel include a woman’s place in society, sacrifice, and suffering.  While the tone is often somber in the book, readers are taken through a story of women’s suffering, what a mother will sacrifice, and what friendship and love look like.

Mariam and Laila eventually band together to try and escape war-torn Afghanistan.  To avoid spoilers, no end will be given, but I can assure this novel will have you engrossed in its fast-paced movement, brilliant writing, and messages that you will find yourself carrying with you.

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