Saturday, January 05, 2008
More like 700 Splendid Suns
I found A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini disappointing, especially in comparison to The Kite Runner. I wonder if I would have liked this book more if I hadn't already read The Kite Runner. The Afghanistan culture and politics were interesting to me. Maybe it was just a case of been there, done that.
The story centers around two female characters, Mariam and Laila, and follows their lives over the course of 30 years. From the Soviet invasion, to the Taliban, and finally to the US invasion, these women struggle to survive, and yearn for happiness that is always just out of their reach. They learn to endure.
I liked the characters, and they were well drawn, especially the bad guys. But the second half of this book devolved into a soap opera, and it was almost comical to see what horrible tragedy would befall them next. (I don't want to give specifics here and ruin the plot if you haven't read the book yet. But if you have, you know what I mean.)
The storytelling was too heavy-handed, and after a while I got the point: War is bad. Bad things happen to good people.
As with the The Kite Runner, the story just dragged on and on. Just when you thought it was over, there was yet another ending. Kind of like a cheesy horror movie, where the axe-wielding maniac is struck dead, and you the think the film is over. Then he pops back up to kill some more.
The final 20 pages were work to finish. I just wanted it to end. Thankfully, it did.
3 1/2 stars