A poignant story about two Afghan women with very different upbringing but whose path collided inevitably during the war years of first Afghanistan after the soviet departed and Al Qaeda. The book ended right at the Taliban reign. Miriam and Laila stories will move you to tears. The suffering of these women in a society where their every move is determined by a male- whether be a Husband, a Brother, The Government or soldiers in the street, will allow you to be just a little bit grateful for the free society that you are able to live in and enjoy the glory of just taking a walk outside your home without a male supervision. This book will make you angry too, angry at the world for standing by while women are persecuted under the guise of Religion.
A LITTLE HISTORY LESSON- The simplified version
Prior to this book I have read The Kite Runner by the same author but as all things go I remember being moved at the time but cannot recall what the book was about. I’ve read it some 5/6 years ago. It touches on Father/Son relations and about fleeing from the middle east to the great Savior that is America. I remember reading A Thousand Splendid Suns and thinking of how Miriam or Laila would never have the luxury of escape because of the restriction of travel by women unsupervised under the ruling of Al Qaeda. How can you run from an abusive husband if your husband as by law your owner and ‘protector’.
In the late 1980’s When the Soviets were driven out of Afghanistan, the Muhajideen took over power and the people were overjoyed that their people are once again in Power and they will now witness a new flourishing nation. This was never to be. For one no set leadership could be established and rebellions become rife for without a true leader the nation was filled with anarchy and people were forced to be inside their homes which in itself was not safe since the Bombs find you wherever you are. Entire families in instances were killed as with that of Laila’s and her neighbors. You are living in a never ending nightmare. Then came the Al-Qaeda out of Pakistan and though he wasn’t mentioned by Hosseini in the book when the Al Qaeda rode into Kabul, Osama Bin Laden was very much its originator, his idea, to bring together a Global Jihad following the rules of Islam with absolutely no deviations. It was another nightmare for Miriam and Laila for under Al Qaeda, women must wear Burkas, is the property of their husbands and will be stoned to death for transgressions as proclaimed by men and the laws of Islam.
This book more than anything else opened my eyes to a society that without stories such as these no one would have otherwise known about or even believe. It is real, it is happening. For though it is on the international news every day. No one cares anymore.
Id definitely recommend this book. its an eye opener. The writing itself I wasn’t really very enthused about even as I liked the two perspective style that it was told from from. At one point Hosseini completely broke off from Miriam (the character whom he started with) and just jumped right into Laila being born, I was confused but decided to read on. I was glad I did. A lot of themes jumped out at you in this book. Women in society for one, father/daughter relationships, Family relations , domestic violence, strength of women and the list goes on and on. Miriam and Laila are both remarkable women in very different ways. It seems all their lives they have been waiting; waiting for a father to return, waiting for a friend/lover to return/waiting for a war to end/waiting for a husband to die/waiting for a country that is not so harsh to women and yet it is only Laila that was able to see so much more than Miriam but only through the greatest of all sacrifice that Miriam made, her life.
This review might sound very cryptic but I implore you. please just read the book.