A Thousand Splendid Suns Study Guide
A Thousand Splendid Suns: Chapter Summaries
A Thousand Splendid Suns: Themes
A Thousand Splendid Suns: Characters
A Thousand Splendid Suns: Analysis
A Thousand Splendid Suns: Critical Essays
A Thousand Splendid Suns: Questions & Answers
A Thousand Splendid Suns: Introduction
A Thousand Splendid Suns: Biography of Khaled Hosseini
Introduction to A Thousand Splendid Suns
A Thousand Splendid Suns is the second novel by Khalid Hosseini. In the wake of the popularity of Hosseini‘s first novel, The Kite Runner, the author chose to focus on a different type of relationship for his sophomore effort. Whereas The Kite Runner focuses on the relationships between men–specifically fathers and sons—A Thousand Splendid Suns focuses on the role of women in Afghan society and the relationships formed between those who are trying to survive in difficult circumstances. The novel was well received by critics, with some believing that it surpassed The Kite Runner in quality. Hosseini interviewed numerous women in Afghanistan prior to writing the novel, and he used the knowledge gained from these conversations when developing the novel's protagonists, Mariam and Laila, in an effort to reflect the real experiences of Afghan women.
Women and the relationships between them are a central focus of the novel. Both Laila and Mariam are stuck in an unhappy marriage with the sexist and abusive Rasheed, and although they are initially at odds with one another, they bond over their shared dissatisfaction and a mutual love for their children. Mariam's sacrifice on behalf of Laila is a testament to the deep love and understanding between the two, and she become an almost martyr-like figure. Women have minimal power in Afghan society to begin with, and the rise of the Taliban only further restricts their lives. However, Hosseini provides a balanced perspective, criticizing the laws and policies that restrict women while also imbuing his characters with a deep love for their country. Although Afghanistan is where Laila suffered many hardships, it is still her home, and she believes in the ability of her people to overcome prejudice and political turmoil.
A Brief Biography of Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini (born 1965) grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan, before moving with his family to Paris, France. After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, his family was prevented from returning and sought political asylum in the United States, where Hosseini studied medicine at the University of California, San Diego. Hosseini practiced medicine full time after graduation and devoted his spare hours to penning his first novel, The Kite Runner. Published in 2004, The Kite Runner enjoyed massive critical and commercial success, as did Hoesseini's second book, A Thousand Splendid Suns. His novels—all of which take place at least partially in Afghanistan—have been credited with bringing global attention to current issues facing Afghanistan. In addition to his literary contributions, Hosseini has been recognized for his humanitarian work, including his role as a UNHCR goodwill ambassador.