Book review : A Thousand Splendid Suns
By Khaled Hosseini
A Thousand Splendid Suns is the life story of two afghan girls who struggle in a country where women are restricted of their own freedom. They come across poverty, the invasion of Soviet troops, war, women’s obligations under the Taliban rule, developing a strong friendship that will help them overcome the difficult challenges of the conditions of women in Afghanistan.
The novel starts in the 60s. Mariam is a young girl who lives in poverty in a “kolba”, with her mother Nana outside the city of Herat. She is a “harami”, an illegitimate child and sees her father, Jalil, only once a week, on Thursdays where they go fishing together and entertain a close father/daughter relationship. Mariam knows she cannot live with him because she is the “shameful harami” of the family. Mullah Faizullah is an elderly man who teaches Mariam to read and write and explains the Koran to her.
One day Mariam asks her father, who owns a cinema in Herat, to bring her to see Pinocchio, the new cartoon. He agrees but does not come as planned. Mariam decides to visit him at his home, but she is not welcomed inside and stays all night waiting for him. When she is taken back home, she finds that her mother has hanged herself, because she had felt that Mariam was abandoning her. Mariam is then married by Jalil’s wives to Rasheed, a middle aged man who lives in Kabul. She leaves the kolba of her childhood, and Mullah Faizullah, and starts a new life as a married women under the strict obligations of her husband. She learns to wear a “burqua”, to cook for her husband and take over a household. Each of the seven babies of Mariam die soon after she gives birth. Rasheed, who was a nice husband at the beginning, turns out to be violent both verbally and physically. He treats her as a stupid uneducated servant.
Laila is born soon after Mariam’s marriage. Her family is very intellectual and she attends school. They live in the...