A Thousand Splendid Suns is a 2007 novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini. It is his second, following his bestselling 2003 debut, The Kite Runner. The book, which spans a period of over 50 years, from the 1960s to 2003, focuses on the tumultuous lives and relationship of Mariam and Laila, two Afghan women. Mariam, an illegitimate child, suffers from the stigma surrounding her birth and the abuse she faces throughout her marriage. Laila, born a generation later, is comparatively privileged during her youth until their lives intersect and she is also forced to accept a marriage proposal from Rasheed, Mariam’s husband.
Hosseini has remarked that he regards the novel as a “mother-daughter story” in contrast to The Kite Runner, which he considered a “father-son story”. It continues some of the themes used in his previous work, such as the familial aspects, but focuses more on female characters and their role in Afghan society.
A Thousand Splendid Suns was released on May 22, 2007, and received favorable prepublication reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist, becoming a number one New York Times bestseller for 15 weeks following its release. During its first week on the market, it sold over one million copies. Columbia Pictures purchased film rights in 2007 and confirmed intentions to create a movie adaption of the book.