What if you were a fifteen-year-old Afghanistan girl, living in a hut on the outskirts of town, the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy man who had three wives? Now let's say your mother dies and your father and his family don't want you and the shame you represent, so they marry you off to a stranger, a man thirty years your senior who lives hundreds of kilometers away. Here is Mariam on the third day in her new home as she realizes she is no longer free:
Mariam had never before worn a burqa. Rasheed [her husband] had to help her put it on. The padded headpiece felt tight and heavy on her skull, and it was strange seeing the world through a mesh screen. She practiced walking around her room in it and kept stepping on the hem and stumbling. The loss of peripheral vision was unnerving, and she did not like the suffocating way the pleated cloth kept pressing against her mouth.—A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (Penguin USA / Riverhead, 2007, p. 72)
"You'll get used to it," Rasheed said. "With time, I bet you'll even like it."
- Setting: mostly Kabul, from the early 1970s to the early 2000s
- Circumstances: Mariam's home life with Rasheed; her relationship with Laila, Rasheed's second wife; life for women in Kabul during wartime and under the Taliban
- Characters: Mariam, Rasheed (her husband), Laila (Rasheed's second wife), Laila's children, Tariq (Laila's childhood love)
- Genre: literary fiction; beautifully descriptive of Kabul and the women's sphere
- Themes: changing conditions in Kabul, marriage, motherhood, miscarriage; spousal abuse, women's rights, war, friendship, sacrifice, self-worth
- Miscellaneous: winner of starred reviews and an Indie Next pick
Come back on Thursday to enter a giveaway for a Hosseini novel.
What to Know More?
Learn about Khaled Hosseini by visiting his website where you can find videos, discussion questions, and information about his foundation to help the Afghanistan people. He's granted many interviews about A Thousand Splendid Suns, including with NPR and with BookBrowse. In the following video, Hosseini talks about the novel and his childhood in Afghanistan.
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Published by Penguin USA / Riverhead, 2007
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