Friday, May 7, 2010

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I loved Khaled Hosseini's 'The Kite Runner'. The line "For you, a thousand times over" followed by the image of a boy walking with drops of blood trailing behind him will stay with me my entire life. I get goose bumps thinking about that scene from the movie adaptation of the book.

Still, I was a little hesitant to read Hosseini's second book, "A Thousand Splendid Suns". It's been out for a while but I never bought it because of two reasons - a) The premise of a mother-daughter story did not interest me much, and b) Everyone I knew who'd read the book said it wasn't as good as 'The Kite Runner'. Still, there was a little part of me that wanted to read it, and a very dear friend of mine gifted it to be on my birthday. And so I read the book.

'A Thousand Splendid Suns' is the story of a middle-aged woman and a teenager in war-ravaged Afghanistan who are forcibly thrown together by circumstances and develop a mother-daughter bond over time that culminates in immense sacrifices on both their parts. It's the story of the hardships, the brutality, and the deprivation they endure under the Taliban rule. Mostly the brutality at the hands of men. And they don't even have a way out.

The book will not touch your heart or move will wrench your heart. It's made me eternally grateful for the part of world, the religion, the family I've been born into. I really truly lucked out. We've heard stories of injustices towards women under Taliban rule, but if the book is anything to go by, very few other communities would have faced the kind of atrocities that Afghan women have.

Most of you would have read the book, and for those who haven't I'm not going to put any spoilers in here. Because I think it's a beautiful book, one you should experience for yourself. Maybe not as haunting as 'The Kite Runner', but it's beautifully written. And it's very very depressing. Just when you think you've read the worst, it makes you plunge further into depression.

I finished the book a couple of days ago but I'm still not ready to read another one. Don't think I will be for a while. I tried - I picked up another seemingly mellow book thinking I might as well read it while I was in that state of mine. Couldn't. Picked up a funny book, couldn't read that either. I need to let 'A Thousand Splended Suns' seep out of my system before I can let another in. Just that I don't know how long it'll take!


perplexed said...

It's going to take a loooong time to let this one go. The book is so hard hitting, it takes a while to let it fade away (I think)

There were two things that happened to me after reading the book.

1. I was sad. Like really sad, I looked at travel and living shows and thought the world to be just ignorant bastards!

2. I was more grateful than ever to be born where I am born and in this time period. To have the parents I do, to live in the society that I do now.

Scarlett said...

@Perplexed - It's been five days but I'm still not ready to start reading another book. So I've been going through a lot og fashion magazines to help me get over 'A Thousand Splendid Suns'. There's nothing that fashion can't help you get over. Well, almost nothing :)