Everywhere I go in DC these days, I see people carrying around Khaled Hosseini’s latest novel: A Thousand Splendid Suns. Washingtonians are reading it everywhere: the train, the park, the bus, you name it. According to the Washington Post’s "Book World" section, the hardcover edition of the book is the top seller in the Washington DC Metro area. It is really quite fascinating for me to see a bestseller at work.
I, too, am among those Washingtonians carrying around this novel. Like everyone else, I’m reading it while commuting back and forth to work. I’m nearly done with it and so far I’m unimpressed. It’s a real disappointment for me, as I was so enchanted by The Kite Runner that I could not wait to put my hands on Husseini’s next work.
But this novel doesn’t really present anything new. It is filled with clichés and it’s quite obvious that Hosseini had Western audiences in mind when he wrote it. I felt he was writing to please an audience and not merely to exorcise his deep-rooted feelings. I was also disappointed with the prose. It felt so dull and it dragged until eternity. I also felt he had trouble portraying the female point-of-view. His Kite Runner protagonist, Amir, was so well-developed and complex. That is not the case with the two protagonists here: Mariam and Laila. Too bad!
But then again, this is only humble opinion. I’m sure there are many out there that will disagree.