Hosseini, too, offers us the sweep of historic upheavals narrated with the intimacy of family and village life. In his new novel, he weaves the stories of two Afghan women during several decades of cultural turmoil … What keeps this novel vivid and compelling are Hosseini's eye for the textures of daily life and his ability to portray a full range of human emotions, from the smoldering rage of an abused wife to the early flutters of maternal love when a woman discovers she is carrying a baby.
Whereas The Kite Runner focused on fathers and sons, and friendships between men, his latest novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, focuses on mothers and daughters, and friendships between women … In the opening chapters of the book the characters are so one-dimensional that they feel like cartoons … Gradually, however, Mr. Hosseini’s instinctive storytelling skills take over, mowing down the reader’s objections through sheer momentum and will. He succeeds in making the emotional reality of Mariam and Laila’s lives tangible to us … In the end it is these glimpses of daily life in Afghanistan — a country known to most Americans only through news accounts of war and terrorism — that make this novel, like The Kite Runner, so stirring, and that distract attention from its myriad flaws.
A Thousand Splendid Suns, is an ambitious work. Once again the setting is Afghanistan, but this time he has taken the last 33 years of that country’s tumultuous history of war and oppression and told it on an intimate scale, through the lives of two women … Though fascinating, the historical background — the Soviet invasion, the mujahedeen, internecine tribal warfare — isn’t always well integrated into the plot. And the transitions between Mariam’s and Laila’s perspectives can be bumpy … Hosseini succeeds in carrying readers along because he understands the power of emotion as few other popular writers do. As he did in The Kite Runner, he uses a melodramatic plot to convey vividly the many aspects of love and the ways people sacrifice themselves for those they hold dear.