Friday, March 06, 2009

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I have been a member of a women's reading group for over 20 years now. We are not the typical reading group. For one thing, we are diverse in our tastes and have NEVER found a book that we all agreed upon as good reading. We tried, at first, to all read the same book. But we also agreed that nobody should feel pressured to read a book she doesn't like. The result? You guessed it. We have never all read the same book.

However, one of our members was especially impressed by Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. So much so that she gave each of us a copy of the book for Xmas/Hannukah. So I finally got around to reading it this past month.

First, the writing is truly awesome. I felt immersed in the place and time of the book. I felt moved by the women who form the basis of this book.

Also, I was confused by the structure. The book begins telling the story of Miriam, a bastard child who lives alone in a secluded "kolba" with weekly visits from her father. Then, abruptly, the book shifts to concentrate on Laila, Miriam's neighbor. Which is weird and confusing.

I suppose authors must have to trust their readers to let them take these abrupt turns. If the characters are of interest, we will accept the change and trust that all will be resolved. But, dammit, it takes a really long time for that to happen. But, what a miracle, I was patient.

This book throttles you with the reality of war and abuse. It isn't pretty. There are no miraculous escapes. The choices are few and brutal. We have hope for these women, but we also know how foolish that hope is.


Octogalore said...
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Octogalore said...

(Ravenm -- if you could delete the above email once you read it, I'd appreciate --thx)