Maybe I should have read this one before A Thousand Splendid Suns. Because it didn't really live up to the expectations I had in mind after reading that one. Almost everyone I know tells me that A Thousand Splendid Suns was good, but not half as good as The Kite Runner. My opinion is in the exact opposite direction. Bhatti did mention that a woman would be more likely to appreciate A Thousand Splendid Suns, but even my female friends have enjoyed the other one more.
Both books are set against more or less the same backdrop, that of war-ravaged Afghanistan. They span the same periods of time. Both begin with a peaceful way of life, and then move on to loss, tragedy, and eventually, building a new, wholesome life after picking up the pieces of everything that was left. But I found that The Kite Runner seemed to deal with all of this in a way that I was not able to feel the adversity, the agony, the anguish of it all half as strongly as with the other book. The book is written in a very natural style, with clarity, realism, accuracy. There are a lot of things that I did like about it. The style, the little metaphors, the story line, the graphic description of every scene... but it does leave something to be asked for when dealing with emotions, the happy ones and the sad ones. Maybe the order in which one reads Khaled Hosseini's two works has a role to play here. Maybe the expectations had been built up too much. Maybe both. But I would pass this one off as just a little better than average.