One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.
Unlike The Kite Runner which is a story of a father-son relationship set in Afghanistan and the United States of America, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a story about two Afghani women, set in two cities of Afghanistan, Herat and Kabul.
In the story, a girl named Mariam lives in a kolba on the outskirts of Herat with her embittered mother. Because Mariam is the illegitimate daughter of Jalil, her wealthy father, she cannot live with him. On her fifteenth birthday, Mariam asks one thing from her father which resents her mother. To her surprise, she encounters an event that will alter her whole life; and she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed, a shoemaker who is thirty years her senior.
There, in Kabul, Laila, a local teenager, also faces an event that has made her lone. Laila is subsequently taken in by Rasheed and Mariam, and then, is married to Rasheed. Mariam and Laila eventually become confidants and best friends. Then, several other events occur, that change their course of life, each, strengthening the bond of understanding and love between the two.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is a story where two women have their individual destinies, yet face the same hardships. It is a story of how the two women develop a relationship so strong, as of a mother-and-daughter, and their bond of friendship grows stronger. This is a brilliant depiction of how love can move people to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with startling heroism.
Khaled Hosseini is a truly gifted storyteller, who has the power to express even the harshest of scenes in simple words, showing its true and clear meaning, without glossing on the exploitative events.
This may seem a sad, gloomy story of two women, and indeed, it is; but more than that, it shows that despite the oppressive acts, beneath the soft feminine face, lies a heart, strong and courageous, ready to endure for the loved ones. Like diamonds and roses hidden under bomb rubble, this is a story of intense beauty and strength buried under the surface of the cruel and capricious life imposed upon two Afghani women.
This story not only reveals more of Afghanistan, but teaches that life can be lived even in the most desperate of times and struggles. It has made me realise the importance of food, of a good living, of freedom, and most importantly, of having a privilege to live such a blessed life.
It truly is the power of great books like A Thousand Splendid Suns, which can move people to the core.