Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini

This is a fascinating book, which changed my impression about Afghanistan altogether. It tells the story of two women, Mariam and Laila, against the backdrop of various tragic events that happened in Afghanistan over a course of three decades. Hosseini displays exemplary narrative style by changing the perspective from one character to another with each chapter.

It all starts with the Soviet invasion in the late 1970s, followed by the civil wars between rival factions and finally, the Taliban. Kabul, which was once a vibrant and cosmopolitan city, gets totally shattered by the constant fights. Millions of Afghans flee to neighbouring countries. The Buddha statues of Bamiyan, which were destroyed by the Taliban, is one of the many atrocities that took place during that time.

Mariam is the character I liked the most in the novel. Her father was ashamed of the daughter since she was born outside marriage. Her mother so jealous of her that she feared her own daughter might enjoy the luxuries of life which she herself was denied. Her husband had contempt for her since she did not give birth to a boy. But still, Mariam never complained and led a selfless life. The final moments of her life, when she evaluates her own life and feels that she has someone to care for in her life is very emotional.

In short, 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' is a must-read.

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