This startling novel is Khaled Hosseni’s piece of art who is famous for his profound writing style. He got fame right after his first novel “The Kite Runner” but let me tell my readers that A Thousand Splendid Suns is his best book out there and I can say this because I have read all three of his novels. This book is very emotional, sad, infuriating and uplifting and leaves you in tears. Even I saw non-habitual readers love this book no matter males or females. Khaled has the tendency of making a story readable which is full of unbearable violence, misery and domestic abuse and his instinctive story telling skills take over the whole book. This novel has a very stimulating plot, which focuses more on mothers and daughters and friendship between oppressed women of a society mainly of Afghanistan. His characters seem more realistic mainly because we have been hearing news since childhood about these regions ruled by Taliban community. So author brings home a portrait of what life is for women who are considered just a child producing machines in a society, a society of men ruled by men and sadly for men only.
Outside the land of Herat, there was a girl named Mariam who lived with her mother Nana in a village. Her father was a businessman and lived in the city with his other wives and children. Since Mariam was a result of an illegitimate affair of Jalil and Nana so she was deprived of every kind of fatherly love and just to show his presence he visited once a week. On Mariam’s 15th birthday she asked his father to take her to one of his cinemas for a movie but he didn’t show up. Angry teenager ran away from house to his father’s place to ask him for her rights but his servants didn’t let her in and when next day she met him, he sent her back to her mother. Nana, thought she has been deserted once again by Mariam and she will not return just like her father, committed suicide. Mariam, alone and heartbroken, was taken to her father’s place. Her stepmothers couldn’t put up with her considering her a bastard, arranged her marriage with a shoemaker from Kabul. Mariam against her will was married to a 30 years older man Rasheed and sent to Kabul. At first he treated her with immense care but after her miscarriages their relationship became venomous and destructive just because she could not give him a son. Yes that’s the sad reality of such societies and she became a victim of domestic abuse.
In the neighboring house of Mariam, a young girl lived called Laila. She and her father is my favorite character btw. Her father was a liberal and kindhearted teacher who focused on Laila’s education more than her burqa but he was worried about his depressed wife who has isolated herself after the death of their two sons in war. Laila had a friend named Tariq, living in the neighborhood since forever but later on their friendship turned into love affair though people used to frown at them. When the war started both of their families planned to move to Pakistan as refugees but luck was not in favor of Laila. A drone attacked her house killing her parents and hurting her brutally. She was sent to her neighbor Mariam and Rasheed’s place to be taken care of. When she recovered she got to know some horrific news, Tariq and his family was killed on their way and she was Rasheed’s ray of hope for son/s. Though Mariam opposed the idea of Rasheed marrying Laila but when has a man living in this type of society ever listened to his wife. After their marriage, Mariam considered Laila her rival but when she gave birth to a girl her behavior was rendered towards both girls. Rasheed could not stand this friendship and separated Laila and Mariam in different rooms depriving them of basic needs. He lost his job, was barely meeting ends, blessed with a boy, decided to send his daughter to an orphanage where Laila was forbidden to visit. The novel takes a turn when Laila is united with the love of her life and how they progressed their lives leaves us in awe. Here we cannot abandon the fact how Mariam gave endless unreciprocated sacrifices for another woman to make her life heaven in this world.
So bookworms this is a story of strength and beauty combine buried under the surface of cruel life imposed on Afghani women. The effects of war on characters makes it look like a real life story. My personal and very optimistic thoughts say that this book shows us that in all this cruelty, there is still ultimate goodness in some people who have been witnessing the same society throughout their lives. A story of heroism and self sacrifice that comes with love makes it an inspirational novel for all the readers. You will see that despite the extremists and unreasonable values of some, most of the Afghani people are no different than you and me. Lastly a warning for my emotional family, this book will swallow you whole and will spit you out in pieces :’)
My favorite quote from this novel is “She had this laugh. I swear it’s why I married her, Laila, for that laugh! It bulldozed you. You stood no chance against it.“
Let me know yours ❤