STR #216 06/02/2015 STR Bookclub: “A Thousand Splendid Suns”

Tonight we’re mixing it up a bit with another STR Bookclub discussion. We hope you had a chance to grab a copy of Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling novel “A Thousand Splendid Suns”. To get our conversation started, here are some discussion questions to consider:

1. What did A Thousand Splendid Suns teach you about the history of Afghanistan? Did anything surprise you?

2. One of the first relationships we explore in the book is that of Mariam with her mother. What was your reaction to that relationship? What did you think about Nana as a character? How does she significantly impact Mariam’s life even long after she is dead?

3. By the time Laila is rescued from the rubble of her home by Rasheed and Mariam, Mariam’s marriage has become a miserable existence of neglect and abuse. Yet when she realizes that Rasheed intends to marry Laila, she reacts with outrage. Given that Laila’s presence actually tempers Rasheed’s abuse, why is Mariam so hostile toward her?

4. Laila’s friendship with Mariam begins when she defends Mariam from a beating by Rasheed. Why does Laila take this action, despite the contempt Mariam has consistently shown her?

5. Several times Mariam passes herself off as Laila’s mother. In what way is their relationship like mother-daughter? How did their own relationships with their mothers shape how they treated each other and their family?

6. Why does Mariam refuse to call witnesses at her trial? Why didn’t she try to escape with Laila and Tariq? Do you think Mariam made the right decision? Even though her life was hard, Mariam wishes for more of it in the end. Why do you think that is?

7. Overall, how did you enjoy the book? How did you find yourself affected by it?

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