Rule number one: They’re not like us.
by Ann Marlowe
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini Riverhead, 384 pp., $25.95
As you emerge, moist-eyed, from this riveting story of male brutality and female endurance, you may find yourself feeling that you’ve leapfrogged a massive cultural gap, landing in a warm mushy pile of empathy with two Afghan women whose circumstances could not be more different from yours. Sadly, this feeling is a delusion. You haven’t crossed an enormous gap; you’ve read a very well-crafted novel that makes Afghan culture seem peculiarly like ours.