Skip to main content

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: A Best Seller About Women's Rights and How They Are Treated in Afghanistan

I've always been a keen reader and have so many books that I couldn't hope to read them all in my lifetime. I love being surrounded by them

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini--My Book Review

A Thousand Splendid Suns is an outstanding book, very sensitively written by an excellent story teller.

It is mainly about the bleak situation for women in Afghanistan, where polygamy and oppression of women is the norm, and it tells the story of two women married to the same brutal man. They did not have any choice but were pushed into forced marriage, and they seemingly had no option but to submit to his cruelty, with devastating results.

Within a year of publication in 2007, this book was the best-selling novel in the UK.

The Position of Women in Afghanistan

Another thread running through the book is a love story, with all the difficulties of living in a faction-torn city, Kabul

Khaled Husseini is a very sensitive, poetic writer, and this book is a masterpiece and modern classic. He doesn't criticize or lecture, but just lets the sad story unfold. It is deeply moving, and unforgettable.

Within a year of publication, this book was the best-selling novel in the UK.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - A Great Read, a Brilliant Gift

Very Symbolic:

How quietly we endure all that falls upon us

— Khaled Husseini

How do You Rate it?--Good, bad or indifferent?

You might find this book depressing, maybe you prefer gentle romance or humour.

Was this book too haunting for you?

More Information About Khaled Hosseini, the Writer of A Thousand Splendid Suns,and a Poem About Forced Marriage

  • Khaled Hosseini
    Khaled Hosseini is the masterful writer of "The Kite Runner" and "A Thousand Splendid Suns." Born in Afghanistan, the physician-turned-author made it to the New York Times bestseller list with his first novel, "The Kite Runner,"
  • Forced Marriage - Poem and Comment
    Forced marriage is akin to slavery and people trafficking. My poem, a vilanelle, a commentary and links to articles and victim support, and a poll
  • Biography - Khaled Hosseini

Below are Some Videos About Women's Rights in Afghanistan--Rights? What Rights?

Some thought-provoking films from YouTube about what it's like to be a woman in Afghanistan.

Basically, the message is:

If you want to be safe

  • stay subservient to all males in the household
  • do the housework
  • do whatever your husband and any of his family tell you to do
  • stay covered from head to toe (including your nose and mouth) whatever the weather, even in the burning tropical heat, so that you don't attract attention
  • don't talk to strange men or any men who are not part of your family
  • provide sex on demand to your husband whether or not you are willing
  • and, of course, never get physical with any man to whom you are not married

If you follow this mode of conduct, you will probably still get beaten up, but might usually avoid serious injury, such as

  • public "judicial" stoning
  • public whipping
  • and private assault such as having acid or boiling water thrown over you

Marital rape is not a crime and violence against women is normalized by the fact that men have a right to chastise women by beating them.

Oh, and I nearly forgot--if you bring shame on your family, by refusing to marry the man they have chosen or sold you to, or if you have a relationship with a man, or behave in any way which could be viewed as unseemly, your family might feel morally bound to murder you. Oddly enough, this is considered to be an honour killing and is socially acceptable.

Scroll to Continue

Just don't try to run away, or it will be the worse for you.

You Can Leave a Comment Here:

Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on May 25, 2014:

I haven't read the book but thank you for the terrific review - Being a free woman all of my life it's still horrible to read about women who are not free to be who they are - I'll take this opportunity to remind only the oppressive men of saying I once heard...'every man had to pass through a woman to get here' -

burntchestnut on May 25, 2014:

I haven't read this book, but years ago I read "Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arab" Jean Sasson, and "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop, who was a former Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Texas (U.S.) and escaped the cult with her children.

Rema T V on February 10, 2014:

Hi Diana,

What a great book! You have written a good review too. Having read Hosseini's 'Kite Runner', I wanted to read his second book and did read it. Cried more than once - very powerful and emotional read- as I turned the pages fast and was shocked by the speed with which I completed it. Just couldn't put the book down (voted for your 'unputdownable' response in the poll) and this has happened in a long time. Waiting to get my hands on his third book too -I am sure Hosseini will not disappoint his readers. His books have a powerful story line and he knows how to keep his readers'

flycatcherrr on January 29, 2014:

I too tried to weigh in on the duel, above, but the system didn't seem to want to accept my comment.

What I was trying to say was just how much I enjoyed this novel. It's a remarkable work - I couldn't stop turning the pages, wanting to find out what would happen to the two female leading characters next.

Funny, I put off reading it for ages and ages, feeling that it might be too much, too overwhelming to read a story set in Afghanistan in such a difficult time. Sorry now that I didn't read it earlier (which will teach me, perhaps, to listen in future to my mother's book recommendations!) as it's one I will want to read again, more than once.

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on December 17, 2013:

I tried participating in the duel, but as happens so often, this one would not let me. I very much enjoyed the book, despite the subject matter. Hosseini kept me turning pages fast.

Even though I have long known of the oppression women face daily in Afghanistan and elsewhere, I was overwhelmed with the brutality and total lack of freedom these two heroines endured. Hosseini portrayed the women's stories very well.

anonymous on May 27, 2013:

Thanks for this suggestion. I share a list of Books Worth Reading on Pinterest. Hoping maybe I'll get a chance to read them But if I don't get around to reading them, why shouldn't others know about them so they can enjoy them?

Spook LM on May 28, 2011:

Was a fantastic book and enjoyed your review.

Spook LM on May 28, 2011:

Was a fantastic book and enjoyed your review.

CruiseReady from East Central Florida on May 01, 2011:

Thank you for sharing this... the plight of Afghan women needs more attention!

norma-holt on January 23, 2011:

Great lens and lots of important points here.

CozyKitty on December 04, 2010:

stopped by briefly - will be back when i've finished the book ... (beautiful lens btw)


MargoPArrowsmith on November 28, 2010:

I have never heard of it, but will look for it now. I have lensrolled it to A Tribute to the Women of Afghanistan which has a review of the movie Osama about a girl who had to pretend to be a boy so she and her mother wouldn't starve.

Liz Mackay from United Kingdom on November 27, 2010:

I must buy this book right away. You have sold it to me.

Related Articles