Pro-Social Trickstars in Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns


  • Paul Rüsse Tallinna Ülikool
  • Anastassia Krasnova Tallinna Ülikool



American literature, Afghan folklore, tricksters, trickstars, Islamic feminism


Tricksters are usually defined as non-heroic male characters obsessed with food, sex, and general merrymaking, occasionally changing shape and even gender but eventually returning to their masculine self. But is this necessarily true in contemporary ethnic literature? The current essay explores the notion of the trickstar, or the female trickster, in Afghan- American fiction, analysing the three heroines in Khaled Hosseini’s 2007 novel A Thousand Splendid Suns, which is a mother-daughter story set in Kabul at the turn of the millennium. In order to place this text into a cultural context and underscore the significance of the trickstar figure, it is compared to a traditional Afghan folk tale, “Women’s Tricks.” Two research questions are at the centre of this article: (1) In what ways are trickstars from Afghan folklore similar to the heroines of Hosseini’s novel? and (2) What roles do his heroines perform as pro-social trickstars?



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