A Thousand Splendid Suns

I’ve been missing in action for several days on both of my blogs. Despite my personal life slowing down [no more brothers or sisters to get married, woohoo!] and my school schedule leveling off, I’ve not found time to post on here in several days. Why, you may ask?

A few nights ago, after getting ahead [gasp!] on my homework, I decided to peruse my recently-unpacked bookcases and treat myself to a few hours in a hot bath with one of my newer titles.

I’ve been exploring a lot of different genres and subject matters over the last few months, diving into the world of fantasy and science fiction far more than before. I decided that this treat would consist of a book more realistic than fantastic, more solid than whispy and whimsical. I settled on:

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

 

200px-A_Thousand_Splendid_Suns

I had read The Kite Runner last year, after recommendations from several friends, and I loved it. It was poignant and painfully beautiful. I had to spend a few days “recovering” from The Kite Runner, as it had several scenes that left me emotionally exhausted and deeply saddened. While I knew the story was fiction, I had learned to care so deeply for the characters that I felt I was experiencing true tragedy in the turning of the pages. As a result, I was a bit hesitant to pick up another work by Hosseini, considering my limited threshold for unnecessary stress and emotional discord at the present moment – I’m a tired, overworked SENIOR in college right now, guys!

I’m happy to report that A Thousand Splendid Suns, while comparable to The Kite Runner, was a far more positive story. Yes, there was pain. Yes, there was discrimination, prejudice, ignorance, and pain. But there was so much BEAUTY. So much underlying humanity, buried in the pages, peeking up from the punctuation – timid, but ever-present. In A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini weaves the tale of Mariam, the illegitimate child of a wealthy man, and her struggles for survival in a country that experienced more turmoil, change, and war in the past 30 years than many country’s have in their entire existence.

It’s a story of survival. Endurance. Hope. Family. LOVE.

I couldn’t put it down.

What was supposed to be an hour of reading in the bathtub turned into four hours in lukewarm water, too entranced in the pages to notice I’d pruned up like a raisin. I stayed up well past 2am, desperate to finish, but knowing I wouldn’t function the next day at work if I stayed up any longer. The next night, instead of diving into necessary homework, I shoved my nose so deeply in the book, I smelled the binding glue for days after.

Like one who was on the brink of death from starvation, I inhaled the words from the page. Truly, this was a beautiful book and, for the first time in a while, I found myself missing the characters when I reached the last page. I wasn’t eager to be done. I didn’t want to know the end – I wanted to stay with Mariam, with Laila. To follow Tariq.

If you are looking for the next book to pick up for a vacation from your life, you’ve found it. Just know this: you won’t be able to put it down. Take a day off from work, pop a squat under a shady tree outside, and plan on spending a solid six hours ingesting 432 pages of brilliance, of truth, and of Afghan history.

Optimistic you’re going to love it, too —

~ Victoria Elizabeth

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