Novel: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Source: OC Public Library
With this, I complete 4 books from the six books I listed in the post at the start of this year.
After her mother’s death, Mariam’s father marries her to Rasheed (an old man). In the beginning, Rasheed showers her with his love and affection.
His only condition: “Not to meet any man without his presence and always wear a burqa while going out.” But his good demeanor lasts until the first miscarriage, after which Mariam faces a life of daily abuse and physical torture.
Laila is a young girl in her teens. She is in love with Tariq, her childhood friend.She loses her friend to bombings between different warlords. A lot of families leave the neighborhood including Tariq’s, escaping from war. Although Mariam and Laila have lived in the same neighborhood, they have never interacted. Until that day, when a bomb explosion kills Laila’s whole family, injuring her gravely. Rasheed rescues Laila from the rubble and takes her home. He instructs Mariam to nurse Laila back to health.
Soon, Laila receives another devastating news about Tariq’s death. This shatters her completely. But she has to survive. And so agrees to marry Rasheed. Mariam resents her for this. After marriage, Rasheed treats Laila as a princess. This makes Mariam jealous. She feels the young girl is snatching her husband.
During the first few days, Mariam and Laila fight or ignore each other for the most part. Laila’s pregnancy further increases the distance between them.
Ultimately, Rasheed’s abuse and Laila’s daughter Aziza play a vital role in strengthening the bond between Laila and Mariam.
10 years pass. One day Tariq comes to meet Laila. And Rasheed knows. How will he react?
There are novels which give you pleasure. Then novels like this one which makes you thoughtful. Such fictional novels force you to ponder upon issues people face or are facing right now.
A thousand splendid suns is a novel based upon wars in Afghanistan. It is a more potent blend of history and fiction. The historical facts are fused into the story as an ongoing commentary from the characters. Almost giving the effect of watching the news while living with Mariam and Laila.
I have never experienced abuse. So first Mariam’s and then Laila’s acceptance of marital abuse is horrifying. The only reason they suffer is for their children. As Rasheed has tortured baby Aziza to the point of death when they tried to run away.
A mother’s endurance to bear hardships for her child is endless. When Rasheed looses his shop, then a job, finally money because of the successive wars, he forces Laila to put Aziza in an orphanage. As though the pain of separation wasn’t enough. She has to face daily beatings from Taliban to meet Aziza when Rasheed refuses to go with her. I am grateful for what I have in my life when I think about what Mariam and Laila endured.
This novel takes you through an emotional roller coaster. I felt hopeful in the beginning, followed by anger, then frustration, hopelessness at one point, and then back to hopeful, sad, and finally relieved.
To end this review, I must say add it to your list if you like historical fiction.
This was my second novel from Khaled Hosseini. The first one was The Kite Runner. And I am reading the last one “And the mountains echoed” presently.
Did you read this one? Or planning to?
Share your thoughts and let’s have a conversation.