Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns- a book review

A Thousand Splendid Suns
By; Khaled Hosseini

I purchased this book because on the cover it stated that it was a novel by the author of “The Kite Runner”. That was a very powerful book describing life in Afghanistan the past 40 years. This new book parallels the same time period only from a different perspective. This was every bit as powerful as the other. I have also read, “Three Cups of Tea”, which takes place in Pakistan. This is a true story whereas the others are fiction. I am willing to grant Mr. Hosseini that what he writes describing life during those decades reflects what actually happened.
Life in this country was relatively peaceful until the communists came to power followed by the invasion by Russia. A Muslim country but strict enforcement of Sharia law was not enforced. Some women wore burkas but not all. Some men had beards but not all. Some men had one wife, others had more than one. Men were the authority figures but cruelty was not rampant. Over one million Afghans were killed during the war. When the Soviets withdrew, factions vied for supremacy. This is when barbarous treatment of Afghans began. They had been united against the Soviets but not now. In September, 1996 the Taliban became the ruling party. That is when darkness descended on the land. Their strict interpretation of Muslim law was harshly administered. Page 248 lists the rules all were to obey. Pray five times per day, singing and dancing prohibited, men to have beards, girls forbidden from attending schools, women forbidden from working outside of their homes and to be attended at all times by a male family member, etc.
By 2002 the Taliban had been defeated by the coalition forces and some semblance of normalcy descended upon the land.
The book chronicles the story of two women and their lives during these years. Sometimes they enjoyed happiness but mostly sorrow. It is not a nice story. For me they were just the vehicle required to put people into these years so the reader could sense what it would have been like.
I do recommend reading particularly by people like me who try to make sense out of the world we live in today.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
September 2, 2008

1 comment:

John R. Carter, Sr. said...

Thanks for your research and comments. Very interesting. More than enough to help rethink what is being done in the U.S.A.

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