Book review -A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini

This book has two central characters. The first half of the story is centred around Mariam, a fifteen year old girl who leads a reclusive life with her mother, on mountains close to Herat.
Mariam has a strained relationship with her mother,so the thing she cherishes the most is occasional visits of people living outside her and her mom’s little world. Especially her father’s, who is like a rainbow to Mariam’s dull life. Living with her father, going around Herat with him is Mariam’s dearest wish.Nevertheless she satisfies herself with his brief appearances and her mother’s company.

But on her sixteenth birthday her world topples over, the unexpected turn of events take her to Kabul and to a new reality that she has to accept as soon as she can. A few years later a little girl called Laila is born a few houses away from hers in Soviet ruled Afghanistan.

Laila is a strong, rebellious and smart girl brought up by a progressive father with a dream to do something great in her life. Unfortunately, as Laila turns into a teenager Afghanistan is engulfed by war and bombings, their beloved city Kabul no longer looks the same, Bombed houses, dead and fleeing people, and forces that unite Laila’s path with Mariam’s. The story that follows is one of resilience, faith, courage and a woman’s love and empathy for another.

Above all , A Thousand Splendid Suns narrates the condition of Afghanistan before Soviet invasion till Taliban takes over as well as it’s aftermath from a woman’s perspective, it highlights the effects of war and hatred on an otherwise happy and peaceful land. It depicts the love between a nation and it’s people, beautifully captured in the lines, “One could not count the moons that shimmered on her roof and a thousand splendid suns that hid behind her walls.”

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