A Thousand Splendid Suns

Julia O'Handley

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Taking place in Herat, Afghanistan from the 1960's to the early 2000's, A Thousand Splendid Suns focuses on a young girl named Mariam and her complicated upbringing, and her life after her adolescent years.

The Beginning of the End

Mariam's early life is very complex. Her mother, Nana, is a cruel and stubborn woman, while her father, Jalil a very well respected and quite successful business man, sees her once a week and does not give her the time of day, or even act as though she is even his daughter. Later on in the book he refuses to let her into his home forcing Marian to sleep in the streets. Marian wants so badly to be apart of her fathers new life, with her step siblings, and three stepmothers in Herat. Attempting at a relationship with her father Mariam asks Jalil to take her to the movies for her 15th birthday. Jalil grudgingly agrees to take her to see Pinochio, but he never shows. After Mariam walks to her fathers house, he refuses to let her in forcing her to sleep in the streets. And the next day when Marian returns home the next day, she finds that her mother has committed suicide. The life that Marian has once lived has just changed drastically.

Trouble in Paradise

Mariam's father reluctantly allowed her to stay with him and his new family. However his new wives are not fond of her, and force her into a marriage with widower Rasheed, who is a local shoemaker. After it is clear that he is only using Marian to have children, and she is unable to conceive, Rasheed begins to abuse her not only physically but emotionally and verbally. Nonetheless they remain married.

Growing up down the street from both Rasheed and Marian were two people by the names of Tariq and Laila. Two young lovers who grow apart due to the war between Afghanistan and the Soviets. After Tariq flees to Pakistan with his family, Laila and her family prepare to flee the country only for her parents to be killed by a bomb and herself to be seriously hurt.

Some Say that the Key to a Successful Marriage is Honesty.... Rasheed Did NOT get the Memo

After helping Laila restore her health she discovers that she is pregnant with Tariqs child. Later on a man known as Abul brings news that Tariq has died. A devastated Laila agrees to marry Rasheed. Two children later, and many years of horrific abuse at the hands of none other than Rasheed himself, Tariq shows up at the families door. And he is very much alive and well.

It is later uncovered that Rasheed had paid the man Abul to tell Laila of Tariqs "death", to prevent her running away from him. Now that Laila knows of Tariqs true fate, there is no stopping her from being with him. They spend an afternoon together while her husband is at work. Once Rasheed finds out about Tariqs return, he beats Laila senseless. Until Mariam kills him. ( it's about time somebody did)

To give Laila and Tariq the life that they have always wanted to live together, Mariam willingly turns herself into the Taliban.

They would make new lives for themselves-peaceful solitary lives- and there the weight of all that they'd endured would lift from them, and they would be deserving of all the happiness and simple prosperity they would find.

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Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini has written many books pressing the issues that are currently taking place in Afghanistan and the middle East. Another one if his most famous works include The Kite Runner, which discusses similar issues to that of A Thousand Splendid Suns.The writing style Hosseini uses will always keep you turning the pages, anticipating what is next.
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Over all this book was fantastic. The story had me sucked in so much, that by the time I had finished I felt super attached to all of the characters. It was a truly inspiring book.
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One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.