a thousand splendid suns

At the start of the year, I penned down a ‘life plan’ for 2009 with goals, objectives and tasks. Yeah, I had a lot of zeal and va va voom for the new year. One of the tasks was to read at least two books a month.

I love to read, and at some point it was easy to do about four to five books a month, newspapers daily save for the weekend, and approximately four to five magazines monthly but in 2008 that number dropped dramatically so I pledged to do something about it.

And so far so good – I’m on book number 8 right now. But oh boy, have they been a bunch of silly books or what. I need to step up my game. This is what I’ve read this year – as you will clearly tell, I haven’t added a lot of literary genius to my life but I’ve had some good laughs and some moments when I wondered ‘who published this?’

1. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Excellent! And what a way to begin the year. I actually didn’t think that after Kite Runner, he would have the heart to deliver once again, and with such remarkable story telling ease, but he did. Khaled Hosseini is a master weaver of tales, telling them with such depth of emotion while using carefully chosen simple words. There are parts of the story I wanted to read with a highlighter pen so I could go back and read the phrases over and over again.

The story of two completely different women, women who in normal circumstances would have had nothing in common, women who if all remained constant would have frowned upon one another, women who if fate weren’t so cruel at times would have missed life’s most important lessons. The story of Laila and Mariam grips you from the very start and you can’t help but clutch the book and turn the pages while holding your breath hoping that the worst wouldn’t happen, and then it did, over and over again.

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls

That was a reference to Kabul, where the novel is set. In war torn Afghanistan. Where the far off boom of artillery and the long string of gunfire plagued their lives.

A Thousand Splendid Suns was for me a book about finding love and friendship in the most unlikely of places, the simplicity of love and friendship as depicted through pure sacrifice, the sustenance of love and friendship even in the midst of hopelessness and despair. And more importantly this book changed my definition of family and my understanding of the power of motherhood.

A must read. Look out for The Kite Runner as well, his first novel. And the next post.

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