Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns

The next book by Khaled Hosseini - describes the life of Mariam and Laila - two women whose age difference is by more than a decade who end up being married to a guy who is decades older than both of them.

This book reflects the male-chauvinistic Afghan society and the domestic violence and callousness which are a part of the daily life of women there.

Mariam is a 'harami' and is uneducated and is brought up in a hut outside a city with no knowledge of the outside world. Her world comes crashing down one day and she is married off to Rasheed, a man who is thrice her age! She resigns to fate and starts life as his bride, but when suffers six miscarriages in a row, Rasheed starts ill-treating her and she becomes an unwanted addition to Rasheed.

Laila is a daughter of a progressive parents in Kabul who is in love with Tariq, a one-legged childhood friend. She is quite beautiful and is her dad's darling. Her dad wants her to complete college education and take up a job in Kabul. Days before her house is destroyed by a rocket in the battle ridden Kabul, Tariq and Laila give in to a momentary urge and end up in the bed. Tariq moves out to Pakistan immediately afterwards and Laila's home and world come crashing down the moment when a stray rockets lands on her house and kills her parents and her hopes.

Laila is saved from the rubble by Rasheed. Rasheed sets up a person who lies to Laila that Tariq is dead in Pakistan and when Rasheed declares he wants to marry Laila who is less than one-fourth his age, Laila to safegaurd her still unborn baby of Tariq, decides to marry Rasheed, causing Mariam to hate her.

Mariam and Laila start off life together in animosity - with Rasheed calling Mariam as a volga while Laila was a benz. But later when Mariam finds out why Laila agreed to be married to Rasheed and also her attachment to Tariq-Laila's daughter Aziza, she softens and befriends Laila.

Meanwhile, Rasheed has turned against Laila also and regularly beats both the women. The remainder of the book is about how Mariam and Laila escape Rasheed and how Mariam makes the ultimate sacrifice to enable Laila get back to Tariz, who is still alive in Pakistan.

A fast moving story, which captures the battle torn Afghanistan much better than the author's first book.

In one word, Excellent.


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4 comments:

Deepa said...

I cant believe you like this better than Kite Runner. Read this one during the vacation and its very depressing.

Karthik Sriram said...

I told that this book gives u a real taste of Afghanistan, much more than what TKR did....

LKS

Aishwarya Rao said...

I am not going to read this post. I have just begun the book and I want every line to be a surprise!

Teesu said...

OK, I wanted to read KR but now you have spoken about this 1000 thing; whatever the book, don't want depressing stuff...so should I just avoid both books?