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Plot Overview:

The book is divided into four parts. The first part talks about Mariam. Mariam grew up in Gul Daman, Afghanistan, she lived in a koba, a mud house. She loved her father Jail who did not live with her and Nana, Marima's mother. Nana did not like Jalil and one day Mariam went to Jalil's home and Nana said that if she went she is going to die. When Mariam returned Nana had hung herself. Now Mariam goes to live with Jalil and she was married to a forty year old Rasheed who owned a store in Kabul and Mariam had hated Jalil from that point on. As time passed by Rasheed became more abusive on Mariam.
The second part talks about Laila and Tariq, both grew up in Kabul. Tariq and Laila loved each other and never though about quitting each other. But as the war in Afghanistan increased as days went by Tariq's family decided to move to Pakistan to get a better life. And after six moths Laila's family decided to do that same things but their home was hit by a rocket the day before they were suppose to leave.
In the third part, Laila was rescused by Rasheed and Mariam. It took six months for Laila to recover from her wounds. Laila found out Tariq had been killed from a rocket attack between the Afghanistan and Pakistan border. After finding out that news, Laila agrees to marry Rasheed who wanted to have kids with a attractive second wife. Laila gives birth to Aziza and Rasheed does not like that becuase he wanted to have a boy. As time passed by he became more abusive on Laila. The taliban had came in Kabul and the life was brutal now. Rasheed's shop had been burned and he had nothing to do now. One day, Laila, Mariam and Aziza tired to leave Kabul but they were caught by the Taliban and when they returned home Rasheed beat them up with a belt. At the end of the third part, Laila gives birt to Zalmail, a boy.
Part four of the book talks about execution of Mariam and freedom for Laila. One day Tariq came to see Laila and Laila could not believe it. They talked for an hour and then Tariq took off. When Rasheed came home, Zalmai told him about Tariq. Rasheed then got mad at first and severely started beating Laila, but all of the sudden Mariam forcefully hit Rasheed on his head and Rasheed was dead. Then Mariam told Laila to leaves Kabul and move to Pakistan with Tariq. To take the attention from Laila, Mariam told the taliban that she had killed Rasheed and later she was executed at the Gazi Stadium. Laila then goes to Pakistan where she would spend the rest of the life before returning to Kabul after the fall of the Taliban. There Laila gave birth to a girl and she and Mariam named her Mariam. They both opened up a school where Laila taught kids and Tariq worked at a french aid center in Kabul. Zalmail and Aziza accepted Tariq as their father and their life was peacefull from there on.

Author Biography:

Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1965. His father worked as the Afghan Foreign Minister and his mother taught Farsi and History at a large high school in Kabul. In 1976, Hosseini’s family was relocated in Paris by the Afghan Foreign Ministry. In 1980, they were ready to return to Kabul but by then Afghanistan had already witnessed a bloody communist coup and the invasion of the soviet army. In September of 1980, Hosseini's family moved to San Jose, California. Hosseini graduated from high school in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University where he earned a bachelor's degree in Biology in 1988. The following year, he entered the University of California-San Diego's School of Medicine, where he earned a Medical Degree in 1993. He completed his residency at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Hosseini was a practicing internist between 1996 and 2004.

While in medical practice, Hosseini began writing his first novel, The Kite Runner, in March of 2001. In 2003, The Kite Runner, was published and has since become an international bestseller, published in 48 countries. In 2006 he was named a goodwill envoy to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. His second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns was published in May of 2007. Currently, A Thousand Splendid Suns is published in 40 countries. He has been working to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through The Khaled Hosseini Foundation. The Khaled Hosseini Foundation was inspired by a trip to Afghanistan he made in 2007 with the UNHCR. He lives in northern California.

Study Questions:

1. How is the life of an American women different from an Afghan Women?
2. Would you scarify your life for someone else? why or why not?
3. What are the pros and the cons of this book?
4. How is Laila different from Mariam?
5. Would you recommend this book to someone else? why or why not?

Book Reviews:

" A Thousand Splendid Suns is an ambitious work. Once again the setting is Afghanistan, but this time [Hosseiini] ghas taken the last thrity-three yeras of country's tumultous history of war and oppression and told it on an intimate scale, through the lives of two women."- The New York Timse

""Mesmerizing"- San Fransico Chronicle

"Hosseini's writing makes out hearts ache, out stomachs clench, and out emotions reel...[He] tells this saddest story in achingly beatiful prose though stunnngly heoric characters whose spirits somehow grasp the dimmest tays of hope." - USA Today

"A Brave, honorable, big-hearted book."- The Washington Post"

Book Recomandation:

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The book takes place in Kabul, Afghanistan. It is during 1990's and when the Taliban takes over Kabul. At the end, the books takes place in Pakistan and Iran. Then the book goes back to Afghanistan during the American invasion.

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Mariam: Mariam was married at the age of fourteen. Her mother hung her self. Mariam lived at his father's home for five days before getting married to Rashseed. Rasheed was nice to her for the first few months but after that he turned abusive. He would slap her and do things that Mariam did not wanted to. She was later executed at Gazi stadium.
Mullah Faizullah was Mariam's Quran teacher and he always embraced Mariam. He always wished good for her.

Laila- Laila's house was struck by a rocket in which her parents died. She was taken care by Rasheed and Mariam. After a while, Rasheed forced her to marry him. And her life turned violent. She would later marry to Tariq and move to Kabul, where she find out more about Mariam's life via Mullah Faizullah's son.

Rasheed- He was a shoemaker in Kabul. He married to Mariam and later to Laila. His abuse on both Mariam and Laila forced them to kill him.

Jalil- He was father of Mariam. He did not live with her, he lived with two of his wife at his home. He loved Mariam but was forced to marry Mariam but he later regrets it in a letter that he sends to Mariam. He was a wealthy man.

Tariq- He grew with Laila and he loved her. But because of the war his family moved to Pakistan. He later came to Kabul to meet Laila. After Rasheed's death Laila lived with Tariq in Pakistan and had a chid with him. Tariq was enjoying his life with Laila, and they both move to Kabul after things stablize there.

Historical Context:

The book takes place at the end of the Soviet leaving Afghianstan. And then the fighting between the trible groups of Afghnistan to take over Kabul. Then finally comes the Taiban who's laws were brutal and forced many Afghani's to leave Afghanistan. Many people were killed because of the war that was going on and then the books return's to Afghanistan where Laila lives with Tariq for rest of her life.


"I'll die if you go. the jinn will come"(Hosseni 27).

"You can't spend the rest of your life here" (Hosseni 48).

"He swung the belt, testing it against his own thigh, the buckle jingled loudly" (Hosseni 240).
"The Taliban are here" (Hosseni 273).
"They (Taliban) can't make half the population stay home and do nothing" (Hosseni 278).


One of the major theme for this book is struggle. Afghanistan has been invaded by several countries and the citizens have had very difficult life through out the Afghanistan history. Women struggle to get their rights and they have no freedom under the Taliban. They are not allowed to go out of their home. During the war, many children have been living in orphanage. In the book, Aziza has to live in the orphanage because Rasheed does not have the money to feed her.


The major symbol in the book is a burqa. Laila and Mariam do not wear burqa before they were married. But when they married to Rasheed, they wore one. This symbolizes the loss of identity and it also makes them not show their emotions.
Mariam grew up in a Kolba, which is a house that is made out of mud. Kolba symbolizes the poverty that Mariam grew up in and will face for the rest of her life.‍


The noise of rockets fired by the Taliban are heard numerous time. The rockets shows how bad it was during the 1990's and the fear that was created by the rockets that took many lives.


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