Regarding Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns, the Afghan author's second novel after 2003's megaselling The Kite Runner, fans and detractors alike — and among the critics there are far more fans than detractors — agree that the plot, concerning a woman who must marry an evil, oppressive husband following her mother's suicide, tends to take a turn for the melodramatic. But if there's any subject worth depicting in broad strokes, say the critics, it's women's life under the Taliban. And melodrama sells! The novel debuted in yesterday's New York Times best-seller list at number one.
Rave: "Hosseini's bewitching narrative captures the intimate details of life in a world where it's a struggle to survive, skillfully inserting this human story into the larger backdrop of recent history." —Julie Foster, San Francisco Chronicle
Rant: "A Thousand Splendid Suns will no doubt make an excellent film. But the events that work well on the screen do not always make for great literature. As a novel, Hosseini's work is a cardboard set-up of stock crises, often handled in the most emotionally manipulative manner." —Ted Gioia, Blogcritics