A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Book - 2007
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Chronicles the lives of two Afghan women who struggle to survive, raise a family, and find happiness in war-torn Afghanistan.
Publisher: Toronto : Penguin Group (Canada), 2007
ISBN: 9780670064915
Characteristics: 372 p


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Dec 22, 2019

This is so beautifully written. It made me cry and cry. This book is amazing

Dec 14, 2019

A very nice balance of events happening during these hard times and the lives of 2 women. I lot of writers would have turned this into an epic novel. Thank you for writing it so succinctly to get the beautiful story communicated.

Aug 15, 2019

Better than Kite Runner for the fluidity of the writing and realism of the tone. Strong condemnation of the treatment of women in fundamentalist Afghanistan.

Jun 06, 2019

If you loved The Kite Runner, you will love this book too. In my opinion it is almost like the female version of The Kite Runner. Excellent read. Highly recommend.

Dec 21, 2018

In reviewing past-read books, I realized that for some reason or another, I had not rated or commented on this book. It was a powerful and mesmerizing story of Afghanistan. One can feel the pain of the young girl who torn from her family and is forced to marry a cruel, old man - when he throws the burka at her and informs her that she is to wear it. Her later friendship with a neighboring woman gives her some relief from her daily hardships. Together, they work to find a way to exit their miserable existences. It is one of my all-time favorite books - it might become yours as well.

IndyPL_MikeH Dec 18, 2018

As the cliche goes, "torn from the pages of today's headlines".

Aug 29, 2018

I have never given a book 5 stars. This one I would give 6, if I could. Definitely the best book I've ever read! Even better than The Kite Runner.

Aug 06, 2018

Born in Afghanistan a generation apart, Mariam and Laila are brought together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the escalating dangers around them, they form a bond that will alter the course of their lives and the lives of the next generation. I found this a very emotional and heartbreaking book. The cruelty and incredible lack of respect for the women of Afghanistan struck me deeply. Sadly, women are still without their freedom. The book revealed the incredible bravery the women struggling in this wartorn country. Came away with a deep admiration for them.

A book that will make you stop doing everything else in the day and just remove all your time for reading it. Its one of the best books i have ever read. Highly recommended. Also kite runner from the same author is equally recommended.

Dec 28, 2017

this book has stayed with me for a long time after i read it. at first, i was alright with reading about nana and jalil, thinking that the story would continue with those characters throughout the whole thing. as the book went on, however, i realized there was more to it than thought. while well-written, the book frequently uses time skips which could prove confusing to a reader not ready for them. also, there is the misleading that confused me. such as one example: 'it was (mariam) who decided to dig the hole.' this is a quote from a scene in the book that, if i am correct (its been a while since i read this and ive tried to forget it), takes place after the birth of laila's second child, zalmai. zalmai is shown to be very much alive, so why would they dig a hole? unless they assume zalmai will not live very long.
another thing that put me off this book is the mention of r*pe, specifically the first instance with rasheed and mariam. i had to write a journal entry for this part since i read it in school, and it was rather difficult to put down so my teacher wouldn't get offended or weird ed out. now the only reason i label this as r*pe is because it is clearly shown mariam does not want to do this, however rasheed leaves her no choice it seems.
then there was the abuse mariam and laila had to endure. these scenes made me uncomfortable, and made me question as to why they endured it so long, why it took them a large fraction of the book to leave, and how rasheed greeted them. which was horrible.
this book was very well written, however i don't highly recommend it.

((note: i am using my mum's account here. im a junior in highschool))

View All Comments


Add a Quote
Jul 20, 2019

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

Jul 20, 2019

"But time is the most unforgiving of fires..."

Aug 06, 2018

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

Poem written by Saeb-e-Tabrizi, a seventeenth - century Persian poet.

Sep 21, 2012

“A society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated...”
― Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

Jul 07, 2011

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

Jul 07, 2011

"Like a compass needle that points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman. Always."

Jul 07, 2011

"Women like us. We endure. It's all we have."


Add a Summary
randallflagg Mar 03, 2012

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The novel is divided into four parts. The first part focuses exclusively on Mariam, the second and fourth parts focus on Laila, and the third part switches focus between Mariam and Laila with each chapter.

Mariam lives in a kolba on the outskirts of Herat with her mother. Jalil, her father, is a wealthy man who lives in town with three wives and nine children. Because Mariam is his illegitimate daughter, she cannot live with them, but Jalil visits her every Thursday. On her fifteenth birthday, Mariam wants her father to take her to see Pinocchio at his movie theater. When he does not show up, she hikes into town and goes to his house. He refuses to see her, and she ends up sleeping on the porch. In the morning, Mariam returns home to find that her mother has hanged herself out of fear that her daughter has deserted her. Mariam is then taken to live in her father's house. Jalil arranges for her to be married to Rasheed, a shoemaker from Kabul who is thirty years her senior. In Kabul, Mariam becomes pregnant seven successive times, but is never able to carry a child to term, and Rasheed gradually becomes more abusive.

In the same neighborhood live a girl named Laila and a boy named Tariq, who are close friends, but careful of social boundaries. War comes to Afghanistan, and Kabul is bombarded by rocket attacks. Tariq's family decides to leave the city, and the emotional farewell between Laila and Tariq ends with them making love. Laila's family also decides to leave Kabul, but as they are packing a rocket destroys the house, kills her parents, and severely injures Laila. Laila is taken in by Rasheed and Mariam.

After recovering from her injuries, Laila discovers that she is pregnant with Tariq's child. After being told that Tariq is dead, she agrees to marry Rasheed, who is eager to have a young and attractive second wife, and hopes to have a child with her. When Laila gives birth to a daughter, Aziza, Rasheed is displeased and suspicious, and he soon becomes abusive toward Laila. Mariam and Laila eventually become confidantes and best friends. They plan to run away from Rasheed and leave Kabul, but they are caught at the bus station. Rasheed beats them and deprives them of water for several days, almost killing Aziza.

A few years later, Laila gives birth to Zalmai, Rasheed's son. The Taliban has risen to power, and there is a drought, and living conditions in Kabul become poor. Rasheed's workshop burns down, and he is forced to take jobs for which he is ill-suited. Rasheed sends Aziza to an orphanage. Then one day, Tariq appears outside the house. He and Laila are reunited, and their passions flare anew. When Rasheed returns home from work, Zalmai tells his father about the visitor. Rasheed starts to savagely beat Laila. He nearly strangles her, but Mariam kills Rasheed with a shovel. Afterwards, Mariam confesses to killing Rasheed, in order to draw attention away from Laila and Tariq, and is executed, while Laila and Tariq leave for Pakistan with Aziza and Zalmai.

After the fall of the Taliban, Laila and Tariq return to Afghanistan. They stop in the village where Mariam was raised, and discover a package that Mariam's father left behind for her: a videotape of Pinocchio, a small pile of money and a letter. Laila reads the letter and discovers that Jalil regretted sending Mariam away. Laila and Tariq return to Kabul and fix up the orphanage, where Laila starts working as a teacher. Laila is pregnant with her third child, and if it is a girl, it is suggested she will be named Mariam.

Jul 14, 2011

Though not a huge fan of contemporary fiction, I finally succumbed after reading several rave reviews and must admit I wasn’t disappointed. Face-paced and well-written, it is easily read in a few sittings.
The story follows 2 women, Miriam and Laila, both born in Afghanistan but in different regions and hence very different worlds. Both their lives ultimately collide through the consequences of unrelenting battles, invasions and uprisings this country has undergone over the last half century.
As both women endure unimaginable suffering and degradation, the story climaxes with the rise of the Taliban and its notorious intolerance and cruelty that will make any woman reader grateful to have had the extraordinary luck of living in a free country.
What I took away from this story is that there is a culture to Afghanistan that is constantly overshadowed (or in some cases, destroyed) by its political issues. If nothing else, it compelled me to explore its history and unique culture a little further.
All in all, a good story with opportunities to learn about a place I otherwise may not have explored.

Jul 04, 2011

The story takes place during the war in Afghanistan, before and after the Taliban. A beautifully haunting story of 2 unlikely characters brought together during the war, and the sacrifices they had to make for the ones they love.

mackenzie_kilbourne Jun 13, 2011

Loved this book. I used this novel for an english essay and it was very easy to find strong themes and quotes.

heatherlynn Jun 23, 2008

Main Characters:

Change in Kabul from Soviet occupation to post-taliban.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Feb 12, 2019

kelsey_milton thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Nilufar1998 Nov 19, 2013

Nilufar1998 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Dec 19, 2010

Keep_On_Rockin thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Dec 22, 2009

youareahunter thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add Notices
Dec 19, 2010

Violence: This title contains Violence.

Dec 22, 2009

Violence: Violence & Mature Themes

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings

PPL owns a similar edition of this title.

View originally-listed edition

Report edition-matching error

To Top