A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007), is the second novel by Khaled Hosseini. It is an enchanting story about the struggles and hardships of two Afghani women in the times of war. It is an emotionally challenging read and makes you feel the pain of millions. Hosseini has done a brilliant job and teaches us the real meaning of courage.
“Nothing happens in a vacuum in life: every action has a series of consequences, and sometimes it takes a long time to fully understand the consequences of our actions.”
1) Nana’s suicide and Jalil betraying Mariam
Mariam wanted to get away from her life in the small hut, so she ran away to find her father in the city, only to find out that her ‘doting’ father wouldn’t even let her enter the house. She returns only to find her mother hanging from the tree. Days after her world falling apart, she is married off to a MUCH older Rasheed. We totally sunk into our chairs/beds/couches when Mariam didn’t even way goodbye to the running Jalil from the bus.
2) Mariam’s Miscarriages
Her life was finally starting to settle, even though she had to practically endure marital rape, when she suffered a miscarriage. After multiple more, the way she was treated made us want to lash out against Rasheed. Why couldn’t the devil realise that she lost HER child too. Regular beatings and no love from anywhere, her life was simply hell. Why couldn’t the devil realise that she lost HER child too.
3) Laila losing her education and her friends to the war
Education meant everything to her but a possibility of being bombed at any moment broke this dream. It is also quite tragic when her friend is killed while coming from school. Absolutely traumatizing phase Laila had to pass through.
4) “For you, a thousand times over”
Didn’t we all just swoon when Tariq said this to Laila on being asked whether he would use his new firearm?
The voice inside my mind was screaming, DON’T YOU DARE TO ANYTHING TO THEM NOW. LET THEM BE. LET LOVE BE. LET LAILA AND HER MAJNU BE!
But who are we to stand in tragedy’s way? It will always find a way to create havoc in our lives.
5) Tariq moving away
Misery just could not leave them alone. Tariq’s family decided to move away to Pakistan. He asked her to marry Laila but she refused because she was not ready to leave her parents in such a situation. They reluctantly parted after making love for the first time.
Goodbyes are always so depressing, especially when they’re between soul mates.
6) Laila’s parents die
They were so close. So close to moving away and having a chance to lead a safe life when a bomb destroyed everything she had left.
It hurts so much. Whyyyy!?!
7) Tariq dies
After Rasheed ‘rescues’ Laila, a man comes to visit her at his house. He tells her how her beloved Tariq had DIED and how he wanted her to know how much he love her. The man, who ran after her bullies, with his prosthetic leg in hand, had died.
A few days ago she was going to re-unite with Tariq and escape death with her family and now…everything was lost.
8) Laila weds Rasheed, a man who could easily be her grandfather
Laila only did what she could do. She was pregnant with Tariq’s child and wanted it to have a secure home, even if it meant raising TARIQ’s daughter as RASHEED’s.
It was like someone just keeps hitting me; One blow after another.
9) TARIQ IS BACK
It was Rasheed who faked Tariq’s death, to convince Laila to marry him.
Tariq comes back for her, just like he promised. He saves her from drowning in this cynical world.
10) Mariam gets hanged
She fulfills our wish by killing Rasheed and giving Laila a chance to flee with Tariq. She turns herself in for two reasons. Firstly, to prevent Laila from getting the blame. Secondly, she could not face Zalmai, Rasheed and Laila’s young son, now. He adored his father and she had taken him away from the little boy.
“Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye
Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs
And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls”
Happy Birthday, Mr Khaled Hosseini!