Khaled Hosseini's second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns (Riverhead Books, 2007) cements Hosseini's growing reputation as one of the best living fiction authors. I found it even more interesting, haunting and gripping than The Kite Runner, and was entirely unable to put it down (I had planned to read half on an outgoing bus trip and save half for the return, but found that impossible).
Three decades of Afghan history from the perspectives of two very different women whose lives are forced together by circumstance, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a rich, emotional book which educates, inspires, and moves. Hosseini's talent for writing beautifully even when his topic is utterly brutal is on full display here - I can't tell you the number of times my hand flew involuntarily to my mouth in shock. Its themes may be timeless and placeless, but Hosseini's choice of setting is no accident; there are lessons for all in the plight of Afghanistan, and particularly in the harsh realities faced by its women. I will spare a plot summary, but cannot recommend this book highly enough; it is simply excellent.