War is the tsunami who’s evil tides take away with it the calm and peace of life leaving behind barren dreams and dreaded hearts. The destruction is unrestorable when it forces you to let go everything you love. There is pain, struggle and surrender. Life is dangling on the thread of hope. For some it is the beginning of a new chapter and for some their last.
Mariam’s life is not so bad while she lives with Nana. They are poor but happy until one day Nana kills herself. Mariam is brought to her rich father’s home to live with his other wives and children. Before Mariam could digest her mother’s death she’s gotten married to an elderly shoemaker, Rasheed and sent away to Kabul. Here her fate collides with that of Laila’s. Laila, a local teenager born nearly a generation later than Mariam meets a similar fate as Mariam’s and becomes the second wife to Rasheed. Initially there is space for hatred and annoyance which is gradually filled in by help and care. Mariam becomes the mother Laila needs and Laila the daughter Mariam could never conceive. These two women, complete strangers and years apart comfort each other through series of domestic violence. Initially tolerant and meek, both come together to protect their dignity in times of need.
Panic and terror is in the air during the Taliban takeover, threatening humanity. While there is destruction and violence all around the war brings Mariam and Laila who are initially poles apart, together in the end, at the cost of death.
About the book:
The story is set in Afghanistan during the 1960s and early 2000s. The book is a tragic account of the lives of Afghan women at the times of war and even today. The writer has highlighted how women were and are often treated as inanimate objects which can be given or taken at the times of need. Their marriage to elderly men often without their agreement was a common practice in those times. They are left deprived of their freedom and basic human rights. The lives of women in Afghanistan, their social status, their way of life and unjust rules of society imposed upon them are really thought provoking. Through Mariam the author describes someone whose heart holds courage but surrenders easily. Whereas in Laila the author spotlights someone who shows acceptance to her fate but also keeps the will to change it. The turbulences and tragedies in both these women’s lives are commendably interwoven.
About the author:
Khalid Hosseini born on March 4, 1965 is an Afghan- American novelist, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and former physician. His novel The Kite Runner was the best selling novel of 2005 in the US. A Thousand Splendid Suns is his second novel which gained international acclaim. Hosseini is currently a Goodwill Envoy of United Nations High Commissioner for refugees.
The story sheds light on the effects of war on people’s lives especially women. A noteworthy narrative written from women’s perspective. The book leaves you with a bucket full of thoughts and a heavy heart. It is heart breaking and heart-warming at the same time.