Friday

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hossaini



Basic plot

The story is set in Afghanistan and tells a tale of two girls, with lives so different and yet destined to be intertwined. Mariam is a "harami", an illegitimate daughter of a well-off cinema owner in Herat. By birth she is an outcast, though her optimistic nature fails to entrap her in the lowly stature that society had decreed for her. A tragic event sends her to Kabul, where life only gets harder. Laila is a carefree girl of cultured parentage who spends most days with her best friend Tariq. Soon, their playground turns into a war-zone and Laila loses everything only to find strength in someone who has carried more than her fair share of burdens.

What I liked about this book

Undeniably Khaled Hossaini is a great story teller. His depictions of Afghanistan and his characters bring them to life for the reader.

What I disliked about the book

With this book it was not so much of dislike, it was an emotionally trying book to read. It saddened me to read the trials and tribulations that these two women had to endure (even though it was fictional). I found the storyline to be very depressing. Even the tiny pearls of hope scattered across the plot was not enough to take the heaviness of the subject matter at hand. Personally, I preferred The Kite Runner, though tragic in itself, that book had peaks and valleys as opposed to this one which just seems like an endless field of sorrow.

A quote I liked from this book

Like a compass needle that points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman

Rating: 4/5
 
This book actually belongs to Siti who has been kind enough to lend me this book as part of her book swap project. Lydia  has also posted a book swap list on her blog. I am delighted that there are book lovers out there who, like me, want to share our passion for reading with others. (My book list is at the Book Club)

 

Wednesday

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Basic plot 

Amir is a privileged Pashtun boy always living in the shadows of his impressive father. By his side is his loyal friend Hassan, a poor Hazara boy. Life in 1970s Afghanistan was good, filled with endless summers of climbing trees and winters of kite flying. His childhood was idyllic until the unspeakable happened one grey winter's day in 1975. Ripped by Russian occupation and torn by the Taliban oppression, Amir and his father fled to America to build a new life. Haunted and riddled with guilt, a long-distance phone call from his past catches up with him.

What I liked about this book

I loved this book. The writing is exquisite. The writer manages to evoke not only vivid visions of Afghanistan  and subsequently the contrast with life as an American immigrant, but also a myriad of emotions in the reader. The story is poignant and gripping. Each turn of the page left me wanting more.

What I disliked about this book

Honestly, as a fictional story, it is hard to find fault with the book. My only gripe is the unfortunate depiction of Muslims in an unflattering light. I take comfort in remembering that several bad Muslims are not representative of the beauty of Islam itself.

A quote I liked in this book

When you lie, you steal a man's right to the truth.

Rating: 4.5/5 (actually I would give 5 except for the fact that no book is perfect)

This book actually belongs to Siti who has been kind enough to lend me this book as part of her book swap project. Lydia has also posted a book swap list on her blog. I am delighted that there are book lovers out there who, like me, want to share our passion for reading with others. (My book list is at the Book Club).

Review by: Hidayah