Saturday, August 18, 2007

Predictions and promises

As I predicted, I finished A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini) this past week. And, as promised, I'll share my thoughts about the book.

I read this author's first work, Kite Runner a few years ago and was so fascinated by the story he told. It was like no other book I have read. Set in a part of the country that I admit to knowing little about, I was swept away by the story he told and the cultural elements he wove into his story. I anxiously waited for him to write a second novel.

And luckily, his second story did not disappoint. This story focuses more on the women of Afghanistan and the hardships two courageous women endured over the course of some 30 plus years. With this second story, I was a little less swept away because of my familiarity with the first story. I knew and anticipated horrible things to happen to these two primary characters. And thus I was a little less shocked as the story unfolded. This sort of saddens me. Why was I more upset and haunted to learn about the abuse endured by the boys in Kite Runner than the females in this book? Do we hear more about the abuse of women that we become numb to the idea of it?

But at the same time, I found elements of the story intriguing. I appreciated how as a male author, he was still very talented at writing from the female perspective. He took time to explore the feelings of the characters: what does it feel like to be wearing a burqa, what happens when you bring in another wife into a marriage. Is it accepted and welcome (as I am lead to believe when I watch a show such as Big Love)? Or, are there other emotions that the first wife feels? He explored the feelings of these women while keeping them realistic. He made them courageous and yet also believable. I wish I were more familiar with some of the regional differences of the people of Afghanistan. I suspect it would have helped me understand some of the various characters involved in this story.

I think I'll always prefer Kite Runner but for a second work, he did a very good job of showing his readers that he wasn't just a one shot literary wonder. He has a real talent for telling a story. And, this book makes me want to go back and re-read Kite Runner (which is a compliment all in and of itself since I hate repeats/re-runs).

But first...I think I'm needing some chic lit before I return to the emotional setting of the Middle East.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I'm anxious to read it. If you're interested in a light, compellling read, try Twilight. It's a YA novel that my niece recommended, and it's been a great summer read. I'll be looking forward to A Thousand Splendid Suns! Thanks

tz said...

oooh, i can't wait to read that book! I shall put it on my christmas break list!

Colleen Dobson said...

Ditto 0- I loved the kite runner. I think I'm going to try to squeeze in "the Nanny Diaries" before school.