A Thousand Splendid Suns
It's been a long while since I actually picked a book up. Recently while browsing Borders, I caught sight of the book 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini and was contemplating on getting it, but decided not to yet. I was telling my colleague about it, and she said she had gotten both Khaled Hosseini's books from MPH and loaned the first book to me first, 'A Thousand Splendid Suns'.
What can I say about 'A Thousand Splendid Suns'? The book was both remarkable and thought provoking. I finished it in 4 days (to which my colleague exclaimed "SO FAST?!?") . Ok, so maybe 4 days is a little bit fast, but I know some people who can finish thick novels in 24hrs, maybe even less! But honestly, the book was gripping. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. And it has been quite a while since a book like this one caught my attention.
'A Thousand Splendid Suns' talks about the Afghan women. Their lives, their tales, their sufferings, their story. Particularly, 2 Afghan women. The characters in this book are entirely fictional, but the places, historical facts and the descriptions of the locations is very much true. It starts off with one little Afghan girl, how she was made to wed a man 20 years her senior, to a very far of place, away from the people whom she had grown to love. The second part of the book will introduce another Afghan girl, and as you keep reading, the lives of these 2 women would eventually intertwine with each other.
As I read the book, I can't help but feel for their fate. All the pain they had to endure, all the suffering. And yet, amidst all the terror surrounding them, they stood by with all their might, and hope. The book doesn't just talk about the age-old traditions being practiced in Afghanistan past and present, it also touches on Afghanistan's history. There was a time, very long ago, when Afghanistan, Kabul to be more precise, was actually quite modern. All that changed when the war came raining on the land and people of Afghanistan. The war ravaged everything, Everything. And it's a wonder that a human heart and mind can actually be so strong during times like these.
Even though the characters in the book are fiction, somehow I felt that these characters really existed. They may not carry the exact names in the book, but yes, these women do exist in war-torn Afghanistan (and other war-torn countries) and this book gives us a glimpse of them. And yes, for years, centuries even, the women in Afghanistan, especially in the rural parts of the country, are enslaved by their men, treated worse than animals, stripped of all their rights as women. And this book tells it as it is. It's very hard to believe that pride and the pretext of religion can make a man treat a woman so cruelly. And some women also being cruel to their own sisters. Perhaps not cruel, rather, they've been living in fear and only fear. They don't know anything else other than fear. But the good thing is, not all Afghan men treat their women like possessions, as portrayed in the book. There are men that love their women and respect them as human beings.
My heart goes out to all the Afghan women out there. Now I'm eager to pick up 'The Kite Runner'.
Monday, March 23, 2009
A Thousand Splendid Suns