WRITING STYLE: 5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4.5/5
If you are a devoted follower of fiction novels, and you still haven’t read A Thousand Splendid Suns, it is a point worth pondering over. This is one of the best books I have come across in a long time. The author, as I discovered, is not hailed so reverently for nothing. I like the feeling which his books make me experience; the same feelings I had while reading Jhumpa Lahiri. Both authors weave their characters around their motherland and their culture, and in both their books I feel a slight tinge of melancholy; a melancholy which, somewhere is widely present, and somewhere is only existent as a distant numbness. The feel of a world lost and a childhood still cherished is commonplace in both author’s work.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is the story of two girls Mariam and Laila. Mariam is a harami, born out of the illicit relationship of her father, Jalil, with a maid, lovingly referred by her as Nanna. Mariam, though living with her mother like an outcast in a secluded hill outside Herat, a thriving city in the heartland of Afghanistan, is loved and doted upon by his rich father Jalil, who visits her every Thursday, taking time out of his busy schedule.
The other girl Laila is the daughter of a teacher and a progressive mother. Apart from her mom and dad, who live with her in the city of Kabul, she also has two brothers who are away at war. A beautiful girl, she is loved by all and is especially attached to young Tariq, who is a cripple and her confidante, and who, as she later discovers, also becomes the father of her love child. The book is the story of these two wonderful and inspiringly strong characters whom fate brings together, and intertwines their destinies in a seemingly unpredictable way which none of them would have ever imagined even in their most nightmarish dreams.
The author writes beautifully and most unpredictably. At a point when you least expect something to happen and decide upon the course of the book, capricious events happen and change the course of the story altogether, shattering all your efforts to predict the climax. What I also like about the book is the fact that it touches that raw emotional nerve and strikes a chord with its sadness and despondency. The characters are so deep and so courageous that one cannot help but admire the valour that they show amidst all the chaos and fight. The end, though a happy one, still leaves you desiring more and more. I recommend this A Thousand Splendid Suns to one and all for it is truly a masterpiece.