Monday, April 7, 2008

BOOK: A Thousand Splendid Suns

It is always with great hesitation that I purchase an artist's second CD, that I purchase an author's second book. The record and publishing businesses of corporate churn and burn all too frequently disappoint. This might explain why I carried around, and then put back A Thousand Splendid Suns about fifteen times before I purchased and then read it.
Thankfully, it did not fall into the all too familiar, cliché category of failed sophomore efforts. I did not find myself bawling my eyes out as I did when I read The Kite Runner, but I was fully vested in the characters and can report that the book held my attention to the point that I did not sleep a wink on a 2,000 mile plane trip. This is a feat; given that I have flight induced narcolepsy and cannot recall the last time I stayed awake long enough to see the drink cart.

The book was another great read to help me with my process of trying to understand and unravel the complexities in a region plagued by years and years of war. That said, my quest to understand this region, and these wars are a little like going to college for the first time, the more you know, the less you realize you truly know. But I keep reading….

Without telling too much, A Thousand Splendid Suns dovetails the lives of two women. Both have their coming of age in completely separate environments, and later in their lives (or by our perception as they near adolescence) they find themselves thrown together under unthinkable circumstances. The two mix like nutmeg and fennel in the beginning, and then slowly find themselves bound to one another with a loyalty and fierceness that I would argue no woman borne under what we call normal circumstances will ever fully comprehend or understand.

Their story is a beautiful tribute to the powerful and inexplicable bond created between two women. It is also a love story; a tragedy and a history lesson. It is about survival and redemption and hope. And if you are feeling sorry for yourself in any way shape or form when you read this book; this too will pass.

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