A Thousand Splendid Suns: A Book Review

download (9)     

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,

Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.

Unlike The Kite Runner which is a story of a father-son relationship set in Afghanistan and the United States of America, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a story about two Afghani women, set in two cities of Afghanistan, Herat and Kabul.

In the story, a girl named Mariam lives in a kolba on the outskirts of Herat with her embittered mother. Because Mariam is the illegitimate daughter of Jalil, her wealthy father, she cannot live with him. On her fifteenth birthday, Mariam asks one thing from her father which resents her mother. To her surprise, she encounters an event that will alter her whole life; and she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed, a shoemaker who is thirty years her senior.

There, in Kabul, Laila, a local teenager, also faces an event that has made her lone. Laila is subsequently taken in by Rasheed and Mariam, and then, is married to Rasheed. Mariam and Laila eventually become confidants and best friends. Then, several other events occur, that change their course of life, each, strengthening the bond of understanding and love between the two.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a story where two women have their individual destinies, yet face the same hardships.  It is a story of how the two women develop a relationship so strong, as of a mother-and-daughter, and their bond of friendship grows stronger. This is a brilliant depiction of how love can move people to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with startling heroism.

Khaled Hosseini is a truly gifted storyteller, who has the power to express even the harshest of scenes in simple words, showing its true and clear meaning, without glossing on the exploitative events.

This may seem a sad, gloomy story of two women, and indeed, it is; but more than that, it shows that despite the oppressive acts, beneath the soft feminine face, lies a heart, strong and courageous, ready to endure for the loved ones. Like diamonds and roses hidden under bomb rubble, this is a story of intense beauty and strength buried under the surface of the cruel and capricious life imposed upon two Afghani women.

This story not only reveals more of Afghanistan, but teaches that life can be lived even in the most desperate of times and struggles. It has made me realise the importance of food, of a good living, of freedom, and most importantly, of having a privilege to live such a blessed life.

It truly is the power of great books like A Thousand Splendid Suns, which can move people to the core.

      

Advertisements

The Kite Runner: A Book Review

n134136An adult Amir opens the novel in the present-day United States with a vague reference to a childhood event, and then the novel flashes back to Amir’s childhood in Afghanistan.

1975: It tells the story of Amir and Hassan, the closest of friends, as good as brothers, and also experts in the art of kite flying. The two young boys live in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and this year they are going to try harder than ever to win the local kite-fighting tournament, and this is Amir’s one hope of winning his father’s love. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon of the tournament ― an event that is to shatter their lives. Just like the kites battling in the sky, war comes to Afghanistan, and the country becomes an extremely dangerous place. After the monarchy falls and the Russians invade, Amir is forced to flee to America.

Although Amir and Baba toil to create a new life for themselves in the United States, the past is unable to stay buried. When it rears its ugly head, Amir is forced to return to his homeland to face the demons and decisions of his youth, with only a slim hope to make amends; to find the one thing which the world cannot grant him ― The Kite Runner becomes the story of Amir’s quest for redemption ― righting the wrongs he committed all those years ago as a boy in Kabul.

Hosseini’s story is not just about Afghanistan, but of relationships which are universal. The prose, elegant and rich; the story fast-paced and hardly ever dull, introduced me to a world – the world of Afghan life – which is strange, fascinating and yet oddly familiar, all at the same time. Hosseini’s writing has helped to rip the Afghanistan which is known commonly; and, has revealed to me an Afghanistan, a place which is not just another place full of turmoil and tragedy.

This story is clear and yet powerful, and not only is the story itself brilliantly constructed, but the book also explores the very art of storytelling. It’s a story with many moral values, and the book is so intensely plotted, that every page shows something new; all the pages, together, create a wonderful unpredictable ending.

A gripping and emotional story, The Kite Runner had me thrilled and moved, both at the same time. This master piece is a painfully honest story which depicts loyalty and betrayal, friendship and cowardice; which later, by an act of cruelty, ruins lives. In simple words, all I can say is, ‘The Kite Runner is a wonderful, brilliant book.’

Manual of the Warrior of Light: A Book Review

Paulo Coelho, one of the bestselling and the most influential author, an enchanting storyteller, is inspiring people to see beyond the ordinary and into the remarkable.

An odd hybrid—a self-help manual with fictional overtones; a series of aphorisms set in the frame of a parable ― Manual of the Warrior of Light is a collection of Coelho’s teachings summed up into one volume, and is written in the form of short philosophical passages.

In the parable, a boy meets a beautiful woman at a beach, who proceeds to tell him about a hidden undersea temple near a vanished island. The boy fails in his initial attempt to find the temple, though he hears its bells ring, but later, as a grown man, he again meets the woman, who hands him an empty notebook and directs him to write about the “Warrior of the Light,” a being who is “capable of understanding the miracle of life, of fighting to the last for something he believes in—and of hearing the bells that the waves set ringing on the seabed.”

This book is written as if it were an actual handbook for a supposedly warrior, the warrior however being a metaphor not for those who serve a certain lord, an ideal or the weak, but for those in pursuit of their dreams and who appreciate the miracle of life. The manual describes the warrior’s battle ― the challenges the warrior faces, and solutions to the problems, including paradoxes.

Manual of the Warrior of Light is a complete life turner book. In his inimitable style, Paulo Coelho helps us to embrace the Warrior of Light latent in us all ― and in doing so, to realise and live our wildest dreams. Every short passage invites us to embrace the uncertainty of life, to rise up, to greet our own unique destiny ― to live a life that’s full and true. In this jewel of a book, he also shows readers how to embark upon the way of the Warrior:  the one whose quest leads him to become the person he wants to be. The Manual is for those who strive to meet their destiny and who want to ascend to a higher level of being.

Great is the book when you dive into it the moment you start. You keep reading until the book is over. . Then, it leaves you in wonders and makes you realise that even though you completed the book so quickly, you were on a journey, a journey long full of hope and faith, with the protagonist. Great is the book which captivates you even when you complete it. Great is the book which compels you to think about it all the time. This is the book which still clasps me unto it. And that’s the thing I love about the book…