What’s it about?
Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.
How do you put your thoughts down for one of the very few books that you’ve read twice and loved – this was my second read and one I found just as powerful as the first. Whatever I do say, won’t really do the book justice so in the words of Nike….just read it!
As a Western woman with all the freedoms that this allows me it’s so hard to get your head around how Afghan women live and were/are treated, therefore, in places it’s not an easy read and will challenge your emotions.
From the outset this book highlights the hardship for women over approximately 40 years of Afghanistan’s turbulent history; through the fall of the monarchy, military and Taliban rule, it’s often brutal! Although not idyllic when Mariam and Laila are brought together their eventual relationship is heartfelt and resilient. I found it to be incredibly written with such ethnicity and realism which makes it even more haunting.
The ending, which is unexpected and horrifying, is completely appropriate. This isn’t a rom-com that has the perfect ending.
I think this book is definitely overshadowed by its predecessor The Kite Runner. Whereas that book is male orientated during the same time, this book is all about how the women endure. Outstanding, traumatic, brutal with the knowledge that this is still life for many Afghan women. Touching!
“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”
p.s Since reading the book I have been to see the play at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. I enjoyed the experience but not so much the adaptation particularly the casting and demeanour of Rasheed; he was too young, small and nice! I don’t think I’ve been that completely emotionally detached from anything I’ve watched before – I get more emotional at an episode of Casualty!
Small print for info
No of pages: 432