Un-put-down-able. I picked up the book because I was curious to see what it was all about, and what had made it a chart topper in the U.S. I read it over a weekend non stop. While typically, that is said of books with gripping story lines, in this case, it was not so. I just wanted the agony to end, I wanted to see how it ended and I knew I would never feel like picking it up again if I put it down before I finished it. It was a painful saga, and the story rode on stereotypes through and through. I'll give Hosseini the credit for holding the thread well enough, and for well-rendered descriptions of war-ridden Afghanistan. But to be honest, I found no quality in the story, no depth, and quite overdone pathos and drama. I didn't quite understand what made it such a success.
The other day while cycling around, I noticed a sign near the public library saying "Book club discussion: A thousand splendid suns". Quite some coincidence, I thought, so I decided to go to it to listen to what other people have to say. I also thought it would be a nice way to make new friends. I got late at work, and ended up hurrying down to the library and caught a glimpse of the discussion winding down. About 8 people were gathered around a table, with coffee and snacks. So much for hoping to make new friends, they all just happened to be in the age range of 60 years or so, and friendless as I am in this new city, I wasn't about to join the geriatric club yet. I observed silently, and could see routine expressions. One person's face looked grave and serious while narrating something, and the other 7 around the table had a permanent ":o" expression stuck on their face. Of course, they were horrified to read about how women are treated, violated, exploited in "aff-gan-ees-tan". I could see how this book could've become a success in the West- how everyone found it "stunning" and "heart-warming" and all that and more. Frankly, I thought it was a glorified soap opera with its moments of literary creativity and beauty. I do think it will make a great movie. A long, sad, tear-jerker that I am not going to go to.