Monday, March 23, 2009

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I recently completed the book A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. My review follows:
Hosseini is an amazing storyteller. The characterizations are realistic. The historical value of the book is what I treasured the most as I have come to understand more of the history of Afghanistan and the political situation that led up to the events of 9/11 here in America. Valuable insight into the Islamic culture before and after the rise of the Taliban.
The title comes from a Persian poem of the 17th Century by Said-e-Tabrizi called "Kabul." I was fascinated by how Hosseini uses parallelism to weave Miriam and Kabul as one in their descriptions...their true beauty. The poem, translated into English by Josephine Davis follows:

Ah! How beautiful is Kabul encircled by her arid mountains
And Rose, of the trails of thorns she envies
Her gusts of powdered soil, slightly sting my eyes
But I love her, for knowing and loving are born of this same dust

My song exhalts her dazzling tulips
And at the beauty of her trees, I blush
How sparkling the water flows from Pul-I Bastaan!
May Allah protect such beauty from the evil eye of man!

Khizr chose the path to Kabul in order to reach Paradise
For her mountains brought him close to the delights of heaven
From the fort with sprawling walls, A Dragon of protection
Each stone is there more precious than the treasure of Shayagan

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

Her laughter of mornings has the gaiety of flowers
Her nights of darkness, the reflections of lustrous hair
Her melodious nightingales, with passion sing their songs
Ardent tunes, as leaves enflamed, cascading from their throats

And I, I sing in the gardens of Jahanara, of Sharbara
And even the trumpets of heaven envy their green pastures.

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