TSR Book Club: Students Salute Hosseini’s ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’

The latest incarnation of the The Student Room book club has surfaced!  Last month’s focus: Khaled Hosseini’s ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’.

With a current membership of 199, self-confessed TSR bookworms have grouped together to propose prospective reads to bury themselves in each month. After putting their choices to a vote, the winning book is devoured, digested, and discussed.

Previous discussions have included Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘A Study in Scarlet’ and Emily Brontë’s ‘Wuthering Heights’.

The January choice was narrowed down from a list of 16 nominees across a variety of genres including David Nicholls’ ‘One Day’, and ranging from Thomas Hardy’s ‘Tess of the D’Urbevilles‘ to John Le Carre’s ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’.

‘Oh, I’m glad A Thousand Splendid Suns won, it’s a lovely, delicately poignant, but harrowing read. Going to no doubt have to dig out my copy!’

Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ and Khaled Hosseini’s ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ each received a slim majority of 16% of the vote, but in the tie-breaker ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ shone through taking almost twice the votes of ‘Dracula’, and was consequently put to literary scrutiny last month.

‘I don’t normally cry when I read a book, but this story made me a little tearful.’

On the whole, the book received mostly positive reviews:

‘It was a difficult book to read, not by the way it was written or the understanding of the book but more by the theme and the tragic depiction of life in Afghanistan. The book was very moving and beautifully written and I loved some of the similes he used!’

‘I found learning about life in Kabul under various changes in leadership particularly fascinating, as this is a topic that I know very little about.’

Several readers drew comparisons with Hosseini’s arguably more well-known offering, ‘The Kite Runner’, which was successfully adapted into a hit film in 2007.

The former is very male-focused whereas ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ is based on female perspectives.’

‘I like the fact that they are different books but set in the same place as Hosseini gives a completely different view of the war in Afghanistan.’

Many shared the view that the story takes the reader on an emotional journey with a lasting and memorable impact. Some were captivated by the story which spurred them to read on, while others were stopped in their tracks by the poignant themes.

‘Some chapters were hard to read but they are necessary; the images stick with you because you know so much of Hosseini’s work isn’t really fiction, it is many stories dramatised in a few characters.’

‘…to be honest i wouldn’t read it again… from start to finish i felt it was too depressing as women like mirium have to always do as they are told by the men all their life.’

‘There were parts where I had to put the book down and think about what I’d just read.’

Some had encountered the story before but took this as an opportunity to re-visit it, while others, inspired by a shared love of reading, encountered it for the first time and subsequently recommended it to others.

‘It’s not a book I would usually read but thought it was well worth it. I did feel (as others have said) that it did affect me, it was a book where it made you think afterwards. I have already recommended this book to several of my friends.’

Having read the book, one member was excited about the prospect of another of Hosseini’s books making it onto the big screen:

‘its just simply unforgettable and i would love it they could make a film on it!!!!!!!!

  • ‘I feel like I need to pick up another awesome book now! What’s next?’

Courtesy of Penguin Books and The Student Room, this month the TSR Book Club is leafing through Joshua Foer’s ‘Moonwalking with Einstein’, with the possibility of a chance to put their thoughts and questions to the author himself.