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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Thousand Splendid Suns: A Novel

I had read The Kite Runner quite a while back, and Khaled Hosseini's follow up, A Thousand Splendid Suns, has been on my list since then.

Mariam is the daughter of a thrice married man and his former maid in 1970's Afghanistan. She is raised away from her brothers and sisters, she and her mother banished to the outskirts of town with her father visiting at regular intervals. When Mariam is sent away to marry in her teens, her life becomes a living hell with her husband. Their young neighbor Leila grows up into a beautiful young woman on the brink of a life and a love--until things change politically and their neighborhood is bombed. The lives of these two women converge in ways that will change the trajectory of their futures.

Oh em gee, this novel was heartwrenching. It was killer. But not until the very end. So here's how my reading schedule broke down with this book:
  1. First 100 pages - "Ok, I can get down with this story.
  2. 80 pages later - "Wow, this is a great story."
  3. Next 50 pages - "You weren't expecting me to put this down, were you?"
  4. Final 100 pages - ... "Nicole, where are you?" "Crying like a rich girl just had her pony taken away on her birthday."
So it won't be a surprise when I tell you how wonderfully I was surprised to be swept away by this book. I did read The Kite Runner and while I liked it I was not bowled over; I was hesitant to pick this book up for that very reason. So hesitant in fact that this book has been sitting on my shelf for three years. I am so thankful I picked it up.

I was overtaken by the beauty of Hosseini's writing. His two female lead characters were strong and lovely and so well-designed. Their character arcs were lovely and amazing. This story was epic in scope yet read so quickly, which I admit might be more about my need to eat this story alive than anything else. Seriously, I was addicted.

Basically I could spend all day telling you how much I loved this book. I just did. I love stories that reel me in, intrigue the daylights out of me, then hook me by mid-book with a well-crafted and invest-worthy story. It's even better when they leave me broken-hearted yet so satisfied. Then they allow me to gush then make you read it for yourself. Kindle on left, hard copy on right.

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