Khaled Hosseini's historical fiction novel A Thousand Splendid Suns tells the story of two Afghan women, belonging to different generations, from the early 1960s through the early 2000s. Both women are born in different circumstances as Mariam is the illegitimate daughter of a rich man and Laila is the daughter of a teacher. Mariam is forced to marry a shoemaker from Kabul when she is fifteen and Laila's life is turned upside down when her parents are killed. The two women meet and their paths are intertwined by fear, war, and love.
Personally, I think that there are almost no flaws with A Thousand Splendid Suns and that it is a book that everyone should read at least once. The novel may seem intense to sensitive readers but it serves to illustrate the lives of the characters during the time of the Soviet invasion to the Taliban's reign, and finally to the period of rebuilding. The narrative switches between Mariam's and Laila's point-of-view and avoids making one character's perspective more interesting than the other's. The most compelling aspect of A Thousand Splendid Suns, in my opinion, is that it is a story of survival. I think this novel would appeal to readers that enjoy realistic fiction as well as learning about social issues.
A Thousand Splendid Suns has strong, recurring feminist themes without coming off as redundant. I valued the fact that Hosseini is authentic in his portrayal of the women in the novel as well as in his portrayal of the aftermath and direct consequences of the Soviet invasion and the Taliban reign in Afghanistan.