The Kite Runner with another searing epic of Afghanistan in turmoil. The story covers three decades "/>

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Khaled Hosseini, Author
Khaled Hosseini, Author . Riverhead $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-59448-950-1
Reviewed on: 02/26/2007
Release date: 06/01/2007
Prebound-Glued - 420 pages - 978-1-60686-545-3
Hardcover - 444 pages - 978-4-15-208976-2
Paperback - 574 pages - 978-89-7275-401-5
Paperback - 383 pages - 978-986-6973-63-5
Paperback - 428 pages - 978-7-208-07210-7
Paperback - 420 pages
Prebound-Glued - 420 pages - 978-0-606-32429-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7435-6761-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7435-6760-2
Paperback - 372 pages - 978-0-7475-8297-7
Hardcover - 372 pages - 978-0-7475-8279-3
Hardcover - 372 pages - 978-1-59448-888-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-4423-6419-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-4423-6420-2
Compact Disc - 978-0-7435-5443-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-7435-5445-9
Paperback - 978-1-59448-951-8
Library Binding - 448 pages - 978-1-60285-033-0
Hardcover - 978-0-7475-9346-1
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Afghan-American novelist Hosseini follows up his bestselling The Kite Runner with another searing epic of Afghanistan in turmoil. The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through the lives of two women. Mariam is the scorned illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, forced at age 15 into marrying the 40-year-old Rasheed, who grows increasingly brutal as she fails to produce a child. Eighteen later, Rasheed takes another wife, 14-year-old Laila, a smart and spirited girl whose only other options, after her parents are killed by rocket fire, are prostitution or starvation. Against a backdrop of unending war, Mariam and Laila become allies in an asymmetrical battle with Rasheed, whose violent misogyny—"There was no cursing, no screaming, no pleading, no surprised yelps, only the systematic business of beating and being beaten"—is endorsed by custom and law. Hosseini gives a forceful but nuanced portrait of a patriarchal despotism where women are agonizingly dependent on fathers, husbands and especially sons, the bearing of male children being their sole path to social status. His tale is a powerful, harrowing depiction of Afghanistan, but also a lyrical evocation of the lives and enduring hopes of its resilient characters. (May)