Have I mentioned that I am a voracious reader? I average three to four books a month. Most of them novels. This month I read two of my favorite novels to date: Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver; and A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini.
Although I've tried to read Kingsolver novels before, I've never really been able to get into them. Prodigal Summer, however, proved to be the one that hooked me in. Now that I have a better understanding of her writing, I think I will try to read some of her other works.
Prodigal Summer follows the lives of disconnected people living in Zebulon Valley in Virginia--a fictional place as far as I can tell--and entangles them each with one another in very interesting ways.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is the story of three generations of Afghani women from the 1950s through the turn of the century. It is a story filled with grief and heartache with tiny rays of sunshine and joy. I finished this book this morning, tears streaming down my face. If you've ever wondered what it's really like for not only women in Afghanistan, but people in general, this book will give you a perspective that is wholly heart-wrenching and utterly real. The only part I will give away is this:
The Taliban has taken over and women are no longer allowed to work or go outside by themselves. There are separate hospitals for women and men in Kabul--the men have several hospitals, the women only have one. One of the heroines is ready to have a baby and is sent to the women's hospital where there is no clean water or supplies. The character in the story then undergoes a cesarean section without anesthetic.