A Thousand Splendid Suns

19 08 2010

A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini

Written after The Kite Runner,  this book takes place in Afghanistan with overlapping events. Instead of a tale of two boys, however, it defines the lives of two women, Laila and Mariam, in a period of turmoil and change . 

As an illegitamate child of a powerful man of Herat, a city in Afghanistan, and his housekeeper, Mariam felt that her birth prevented her from having a claim on things that legitamate people had: love, forgiveness and aceptance.  Brought up by her bitter mother, she grew to be meek, and to accept her situation without complaint: to follow others because ingrained in her mind she believed she was a half person. Married off because her father wanted to finally get rid of the shame of fathering a child out of wed lock, she becomes the wife of Rasheed, who is more than twice as old as herself at the time.  AFter failing again and again in pregnacy, he finds her a burdan and abuses her. He complains of her food, the cleanliness of the house and her withering looks. Nothing MAriam can do pleases him as it once had: when he had hopes and saw her as his fresh young bride.

Rasheed digs a girl out of the ruins of her house, which was bombed and killed the rest of her family. He makes her his wife. He name is Laila, and although she doesnt love him, she needs his shelter and protection in dangerous times.

Mariam is furious. Rasheed is more than 60 now, and the girl is 14. She feels that the girl threatens her fragile and unhappy life within Rasheed’s walls. The life that she strongly dislikes, but is all she has.

But, when Laila stands up to Rasheed for Mariam’s sake, she allows her walls to come down and let in the friendship and care that Laila wants to give to Mariam. Afterwards, they are a team. Braving life’s cruel winds together.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is just as good as the Kite Runner. It addresses what it means to love and what it takes to give it. I is a story of redemption and of acceptance. It reminds us that we can be alone or choose a way out. And ultimately, it is a quest of happiness and sacrifice for those you love.
~Catherine

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