October 25, 2007
A Thousand Splendid Suns Shatters Your Heart
We all love storytellers. Good storytellers. When I find one buried inside a book, whether its the character or the author, I marvel in the same way I did as a child listening to one new one after another from a family member or friend.
Is it a lost art or does one merely have to return to the villages and small towns where they are more readily found? Do people not honor and cherish storytellers the way they did a hundred years ago?
Khaled Hosseini is one of those storytellers. He kept us present and begging for more in the Kite Runner and he did the same thing in A Thousand Splendid Suns. The only difference is that you could 'bear' the Kite Runner, whereas in the latter, the story is so heart wrenching that at times, you find it hard to breathe. At least I did.
The behavior of civilian men and the Taliban towards Afghan women were so brutally depicted in this book, I couldn't put it down, but I also couldn't stop crying and asking out loud over and over again, "can this be real?"
Of course, it's for real. I've seen milder cases of battered women in this country and abroad and yes, yes, yes, it's real there and in so many other parts in the world.
Reading such explicit details of emotional and physical torture over and over again takes you to the highest levels of gratitude and empathy. You find yourself saying "thank you thank you thank you" for your own life and "why why why why" in the next breath.
Since I'm finding it too difficult to write about the gory details of Hosseini's latest book, just READ IT. Trust me, you won't be able to put it down. You can also read the New York Times review here.
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