Heart-touching story of Mariam, from her birth as a bastard child to the next three generations as Afghanistan goes through so much, finally getting liberated to enter into a (slightly) better future. This book and story is not about what happens but it is about how it happens especially the pain and suffering of Afghan females from the last three decades. Khaled Hosseini is no doubt a master of his art and it was terrific the way he weaved this story from the point of view of a child (Mariam) to how she grows up. Her dreams, aspirations versus what life throws on her path. My heart cried out a million times to see what all she goes through when all she wanted was a little love and affection from her illegitimate father. Even after getting warned ample of times by her own mother, she never agrees with her, believing that her father actually loves her. You’ve got to read it to see how far she takes it and what she realizes by the end of her life and how. It was such an amazing story which took me back in time into our own past and childhood, it made me thank my stars to have this beautiful life where in comparison to her or them (even in fiction), we are actually having a rocking life. The way this story captures the life of girls and women in particular from Afghanistan i
s quite an eye opener. The way Mariam was forced into marriage to a much older shoemaker and the way all hell breaks loose on her, with no respite in any near future, was totally heart breaking. And then, if that was not enough, unfortunately their childless life makes the man marry a second time to another terrific parallel character “Laila”, whose story is no different than Mariam but more painful.
I totally loved the way the Khaled Hosseini has carved out two parallel and amazing characters of Mariam and Laila. Especially the way they criss-cross each others life and what the future enfolds in front of not only them but the reader too. I also loved the way he has carved out Jalil’s character (Mariam’s Father) who actually loves his daughter but is pretty helpless to do anything. Like there was “Hassan” in Kite Runner that one can just not help, but fall in love with, here we have fantastic one legged “Tariq” that I so much loved but I kept expecting my happiness to be short lived (you really need to read to know more if he kept me happy or made me sad). Not everything is so gloomy about Afghanistan as there is some love, music, movies and so much more too. I loved the book references that he has given especial
ly the one’s that I believe he himself loves big time. Like, “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway and “Titanic” the movie. And so many more on poets and writers from the country that he has spoken about in the story, was simply superb. I loved the way he spoke about the city’s past where the story is taking place saying back then “if you kicked with your eyes closed, chances were that you will hit a poet for sure”. The book and the entire story is a delight to read as it may be gloomy and sad at times but it gives so much hope to the reader to look forward to a better future. Also, the way the main characters fight back for their own life and their children’s is quite heart touching. Also, the way it ends is totally commendable. It actually made me quite curious to read something about the country’s current affairs to know if it is having any better time right now as we speak. Starting from Russian invasion to Mujahideen to Taliban and then finally to America after 9/11, their troubles had no end.
Another thing that I love about a Khaled Hosseini books is that the way he uses Urdu and Hindi words, and the way he explains them immediately as what they mean. They not only actually change the meaning but also provide so much depth to his story. Like, for example using the word “harami” in place of “Bastard” makes so much sense in the story that the reader actually understands the gravity of the situation, or how a child must feel who is being called like that. Totally terrific. It is also pretty much evident by his books that how much he loves his country and how he craves to see a better future for his nation.
Have you read “A Thousand Splendid Suns”? Do let me know how you like it and if you haven’t, you really need to read it ASAP. I totally loved it and will recommend it very highly to everyone. If it won’t do nothing else, it will make you love your own life in a better way, trust me.