Walk The Line

Posts Tagged ‘Book

A Thousand Splendid Suns
Khaled Hosseini

When I got this book as a birthday present, I was skeptical. Though I loved his previous one, The Kite Runner, I wasn’t sure whether another book on war-torn Afghanistan would be arresting. After all, this one was again on the same country, the same cityscape. There was another reason for my reluctance to read another book on Afghanistan: news fatigue. As a journalist, I am bombarded with news and photographs from Afghanistan almost everyday.

Then one fine day after finishing Pallavi Aiyar’s book on China, I decided to give it a go. I read the first five pages and gave up. Started again. Stopped. This went on for a while. Then one fine day, I just couldn’t keep it down. I raced through the pages, read it while going to office, at coffee shops and restaurants. (Sometimes in office too. I hope the Ed is not reading this!)

And, this is what I think makes the book so special: its capacity to draw in even an uninterested reader.

The story revolves mainly around two women and their lives and and how their lives coalesced, collided and merged again by the twist of fate and politics.  They were born in two different cities (Herat and Kabul), led very different lives till they were teenagers —- one a ‘harami’ born to a maid servant and the other born to middle-class, educated parents —- and then were married to the same man. While all this was happening, Kabul — the Kabul of Saeb-e-Tabrizi and other Farsi poets — was transformed into the Kabul of Taliban and then again the sanitized Kabul of Hamid Karzai.

The author has beautifully fleshed out the characters and their emotions, and yet everything unfolds in a restrained, understated way. The most beautiful aspect is how the author handles the relationship between Mariam and Laila — two women with more than a decade difference in age but married to the same man.

The author could have easily messed up the plot, overplayed the tension between the two protagonists. But not Hosseini; he has given each their time and space in the story. Not even for once anything seemed excess or forced.



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  • Ram Manohar Sah: Hi All, Kosi (Kaushiki) furry reminds old saying "tying knot in the snakehead". Hydropower, irrigation and flood management are conflicting objecti
  • Alex: Your blog is interesting! Keep up the good work!
  • Nandan Jha: M has done wonders with here Dalit-Brahmin pitch (Sarva Samaj). Even though it was mostly to Mishraji's brilliant plan but if you look now, she could