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Saturday, December 12, 2009

January 2010 novel of the month

Well, I hope you are all enjoying your read of Gilead. Make sure you drop by with comments and your thoughts on the novel.

We will start the new year with an important contemporary novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns. President Obama is following through on his campaign promise to focus his attention on Afghanistan. As such, he is sending more troops. Khaled Hosseini, the author of A Thousand Splendid Suns, is an Afghan, and his novel focuses on the plight of two Afghan women. The novel is of deep importance for our current times in that Hosseini tells the heroic story of Afghan women set against the historic background of Afghanistan.

Through the novel, we get a look into the nation of Afghanistan through the eyes of two oppressed women. This is "a dense, rich, pressure-packed guide to enduring the unendurable." (Lev Grossman of Time) It is a difficult read, at times, as we feel the sense of helplessness and despair, mixed with indignation. It's tough in spots, but this novel is an important experience for our times.

The title, A Thousand Splendid Suns is taken from the poem "Kabul" by 17th-century Persian poet Saib-e-Tabrizi. Here is a selection from the English translation by Josephine Davis:

Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye
Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs
And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls

Our novel of the month is an exploration behind the walls, to the women, those "splendid suns" who shine.

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