It is an incredible story set in the context of impulsive events of Afghanistan’s last 3 decades starting from the Soviet invasion to the time in power of Taliban to post-Taliban transformation that puts the violence, fear, hope, love and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought together by the tragic sweep of war, in the salvation to be found in love, the struggle to survive, raise a family, faith in humanity.
Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a cherished classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a significant chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. In one way, the two novels are corollaries: Both novels are multigenerational, and so the relationship between parent and child. The Kite Runner was a father-son story and A Thousand Splendid Suns can be seen as a mother-daughter story. A Thousand Splendid Suns is a striking, heart-wrenching novel of a difficult time, an unlikely bonding between two women, and an indestructible love—a stunning accomplishment.
The novel focuses on two women, Mariam and Laila, how their lives intersect after a series of drastic events, their subsequent friendship and support for each other in the backdrop of Kabul. It is split into four parts that focus on individual stories: Part one is about Mariam, part two is on Laila, part three is on the affiliation between the two women, and Laila’s life with Tariq is in part four.
Mariam, branded as a harami, or bastard, and forced into an abusive marriage at the age of fifteen. Laila, a beauty groomed for success but shrouded almost beyond recognition by suppressive sharia law and the husband she and Mariam share. The story is epic in scope and spanning three decades, follows these two unconquerable women whose fortunes mirror those of their beloved and battered country and who find in each other the strength they need to survive.
Love may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you consider the war-torn land of Afghanistan. But that is the emotion deep, powerful, beautiful, illicit, and infinitely patient that floods the pages of A Thousand Splendid Suns.