A thousand Splendid Suns is a sensational masterpiece of modern storytelling that revolves around war, which has by far managed to engage every line of audience; a non-regrettable amount of time and attention. It is a tale of war and oppression, it is a tale of family and roots, it is a tale of destruction and violence, but, above all, it is a tale of love; one of the truest, purest and unexpected kind. A range that not only helps us relate to and understand current and past events but also walk us through an array of feelings and emotions, onto which a limit is usually placed when qualifying.
Well, this is what awaits if you haven’t read this book; a story of unimaginable splendour that will instigate curiosity and more developed opinions minimized by the timed, graceful but unevenly estimated news on TV, Twitter; you choose.
Hosseini exceptionally narrows his message down to a personal level in this book.
Traditionally when war stroke, children and women were supposed to stay out of the unsettling side of things. But as we all know, that is not the case anymore, they powerlessly and tragically suffer from all of this just like a soldier on the battlefield or worse.
Hossein’s book is about the pedigrees of humanity and finding love in the most impossible situations. This is a story about two women who helplessly find themselves in a domestically abused household but eventually come together forming a strong bond from which courage, strength and sacrifice are born. A bond that might surpass describing them as mere humans but extra ordinary beings that hope for a better day.
There is a vibrant portrayal of these characters, an almost real time depiction of feelings, a likeness to the imagination left only for the reader to figure out and of which the character remains unaware sometimes. He balances struggle and fondness despite their unreciprocated values. There will be a dozen pages describing hardship but there will also be a one page treat with a beautiful description of the tiniest moments of serenity and hope disregarding how minimal they are throughout the book.
It kicks off as any other initiation life; little Mariam curious about her father who dances around with her illegitimacy and existence. She lets this dance go on for a while even with the warnings of her mother. She holds onto a naiveté that is a result of longing a sense of an additional yet normal belonging. She isn’t just deprived of fatherly love, after her mother unfortunately commits suicide, she is also forced to marry a man way older than her; a man she does not know.
Laila on the other hand, is a dynamic brilliant young girl who lives with both her parents and siblings and a good friend. But she loses her parents after the Talibans bombard their village and the idea that Tariq too, her boyfriend; is dead.
Mariam and Laila’s lives intersect when the latter is forced to be Rasheed’s second wife; Mariam’s husband. Naturally, it is almost impossible for concubines to get along, Mariam being childless from her marriage, accuses Laila of stealing her husband. The violence extends to Laila with time, and when she gives birth to her first child, Aziza, a friendship between them stirs as Laila finds herself growing very fond of Mariam’s children. Together they eventually stand up to Rasheed. Mariam doesn’t make it far in life but she makes sure Laila does.