“A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS”
Mariam was a harami. She was an unwanted child and a burden to her mother. She first heard the word when she was five.
She was restless, because it was a Thursday, the day when Jalil, her father, would come visit her. To pass the time until he came, Mariam climbed onto a chair and took down her mother’s, Nana’s Chinese tea set. Nana cherished the tea set; it was the sole relic Nana had of her mother who had died when she was only two. It was a sugar bowl, it was painted with a dragon to ward off evil that slipped through Mariam’s fingers and shattered on the floorboards of the kolba.
“You are a clumsy little harami. This is my reward for everything I’ve endured. An heirloom-breaking, clumsy little harami.”
These were the words Nana spit through gritted teeth at her unwanted child. At that time Mariam didn’t know what the word harami – bastard – meant. But she did understand that being a harami was nothing to be proud of, that it was an ugly and loathsome thing.
Mariam lives in a kolba on the outskirts of Heart with her bitter mother Nana. Mariam is the illegimate child of Nana and her father Jalil who is a rich businessman and liver with his tree wife’s and several children in the city. He visits every Thursday and she loves him very much. On her fifteenth birthday Jalil has promised Mariam that he will take her to the cinema to watch Pinocchio. When Jalil doesn’t show up so she hikes into town and ends up sleeping on the street outside the house because he won’t let her in. the day after she returns to the kolba, only to find her mother hanging in the weeping willow. Nana killed herself because she thought Mariam had abandoned her.
Mariam gets taken in by her father and she thinks he finally will accept her and that she will live there and get an education. What happens is that he marries her off to a forty-five year old shoemaker named Rasheed. He lives in Kabul, and Mariam feels betrayed by her father. She gets...