About the Book

Book Protagonist: Mariam and Laila
Publication Date: 2007
Genre: Coming of Age, Drama


A Thousand Splendid Suns

By Khaled Hosseini

Vibrant descriptive language, potent analogies, a non-linear narrative structure, and a strong sense of empathy and sympathy for his characters are all hallmarks of 'A Thousand Splendid Suns.' These components come together to tell a story that is memorable and heartfelt.

The literary style of ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns‘ by Khaled Hosseini is lyrical, tragic, evocative, and emotionally intense. Hosseini’s writing style captures the complexity and emotional depth of this period in the historical fiction novel set in Afghanistan amid a turbulent moment of political and social turmoil.

The way A Thousand Splendid Suns‘ illuminated the lives of Afghan women was one of its most noticeable cultural effects. The book’s clear and honest account of the country’s rampant brutality and mistreatment of women raised attention to a problem that had previously gone unnoticed. The book spurred discussions about the significance of gender equality and the need for women’s rights in Afghanistan and other nations.

Style of Prose

Hosseini’s use of descriptive language is one of his writing techniques that stands out the most. He has a gift for using words to paint detailed pictures, which makes it possible for readers to imagine the settings and characters in his book. For instance, Hosseini calls the sky “an infinite expanse of blue” and the sun “a relentless heat” in the book’s opening scene. The atmosphere that is established by these descriptions strongly influences how the rest of the novel will be.

Hosseini’s frequent use of metaphorical language is another important aspect of his writing style. He uses metaphors to assist readers understand difficult emotions and concepts throughout the entire book. For instance, despite the fact that Mariam and Laila are not blood relatives, he compares their bond to that of a mother and daughter. This symbolic parallel highlights the strong kinship that forms between the two women as they cope with the difficulties of living in a war-torn country like Afghanistan.

The way Hosseini tells stories is also noteworthy. The story swings back and forth in time as a result of the author’s non-linear narrative structure, showing various facets of the individuals’ lives and backgrounds. By using this strategy, the author builds a sense of suspense and mystery that keeps readers interested as they try to connect the story’s numerous threads.

A Thousand Splendid Suns as Historical Fiction

The genre of historical fiction involves fictional characters and story devices while being based on actual historical events or times. Hosseini uses his personal experiences growing up in Afghanistan and his considerable research into the nation’s history to paint a vivid and accurate picture of life there in ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns.’ He goes into great detail about Afghanistan’s political climate, social mores, and cultural customs at the time the book is set.

Nonetheless, the story of ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns also borrows from other genres, such as drama, romance, and bildungsroman (coming of age). The book is a highly intimate account of the two women’s lives, which are chock-full of love, grief, triumphs, and tragedies. The story also examines themes found in numerous literary genres, such as family, friendship, loyalty, sacrifice, and resiliency.

Symbolism in A Thousand Splendid Suns

The Kolba

Mariam and Nana reside in a kolba, a mud and clay house that is little better than a shelter for animals. It serves as a reminder of Nana’s degrading status as a woman, a maid, and the unwed mother of a kid. It also represents Mariam’s spirit to Laila. On their route to Kabul, she and Tariq stop at the kolba. Mariam is pictured by Laila in the kolba as a lively, happy girl who enjoys life and makes the most of her circumstances. The visits from Mullah Faizullah and Jalil did add some joy to Mariam’s kolba childhood. Mariam uses those instances of affection and consideration to keep herself content and concentrated on the positive aspects of her life. The kolba represents Mariam’s ability to experience both shameful deprivation and love in spite of her surroundings.

The Burqa

The burqa is a representation of the power that a man has over a woman, particularly over a wife. Mariam is required to cover her face in public, according to Rasheed, since “a woman’s face is her husband’s business” and his business only. No one is permitted to see Mariam’s appearance, but Laila can during funeral rites. In those situations, Mariam is permitted to don a headscarf; nevertheless, in all other situations, she is required to don the burqa. Observant Muslim women cover themselves to varying degrees, with the burqa being the most stringent option. The woman can only see through a screen that is placed in front of her eyes. Because of their restricted field of view, Mariam and Laila struggle to adapt to the burqa and end up tripping over its hem. Mariam is told by Rasheed that she might even come to like the burqa, but he assumes that she prefers to go unnoticed by others. At first, Mariam finds comfort in the idea that her husband will look out for her. She appreciates the shielding from the outside world it appears to provide. But, Rasheed’s harsh treatment of women and low perception of them negate any benefits from the burqa, which also comes to represent her isolation as a victim of violence and a woman.

Bamiyan Buddhas

The enormous love the individuals have for their nation is symbolized by the magnificent Buddha statues Babi takes Laila and Tariq to see. This scenario perfectly captures how history and major occasions in the characters’ lives intertwine. Babi discusses his aspirations for the future while he recounts the history of the Buddhas. Sadly, this will be the last enjoyable interaction Laila has had with both her father and Tariq for a time. Laila will appreciate that moment in the future because she saw a different, more contemplative side of her late father there, and it gave her hope for a better future. The presence of Tariq, for whom Laila has deep romantic affection, heightens the gravity of the moment. Later, Laila discovers that the Buddhas were destroyed by the Taliban despite a global campaign to keep them on the mountain. This deed represents the eradication of Laila’s treasured memory as well as Afghanistan’s history. Laila is brought back to that time when she receives the news since it was so kind.

Rasheed’s Gun

The physical representation of Rasheed’s power is his rifle. Mariam is appalled to realize that her new husband values violence and sex when she discovers it in the drawer with his filthy mags. She discovers photos of his deceased wife and son, though, and this deepens the meaning of the rifle. Rasheed has turned his tragedy into a weak and toxic masculinity that depends on maintaining power no matter what. Rasheed uses his gun to terrorize both his wives and other people throughout the entire book. Rasheed becomes more violent and relies on his pistol to demonstrate his dominance as the narrative unfolds, just as gunshots and rocket launches reverberate loudly outside his home. As Kabul’s unrest causes him to skip work, the one location where he can prove his worth, he brazenly fires into the street. He places the gun in Laila’s mouth after she refuses to carry out his directive to have Aziza ply her trade on the streets, endangering his authority over the family. The level of aggression he is currently displaying toward Laila is the highest. Rasheed’s power is finally taken from him at the novel’s conclusion when Mariam kills him before he can use the gun to protect himself.

A Thousand Splendid Suns: A Captivating Tale of Resilience
  • Story
  • Characters
  • Setting
  • Writing Style
  • Conclusion
  • Lasting Effect on the Reader

A Thousand Splendid Suns

“A Thousand Splendid Suns,” by Khaled Hosseini narrates the tale of Mariam and Laila, two Afghan women whose lives entangle under persecution and conflict. While Mariam and Laila fight to survive and find purpose in a world that wants to restrict their opportunities and freedom, the book examines topics like love, sacrifice, and the resiliency of the human spirit.


  • It tells the history of Afghanistan well.
  • It is rousing, compassionate, and moving.
  • It is easy to comprehend.


  • It is, sometimes, overly simplistic.
  • The character development is somewhat spotty.
Charles Asoluka
About Charles Asoluka
Charles is an experienced content creator, writer, and literary critic. He has written professionally for multiple reputable media organizations. He loves reading Western classics and reviewing them.
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