“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”
I know I’m a little late, almost everyone has read this tragic yet fulfilling book by Khaled Hosseini. The story starts from Herat where Mariam lives with her mother. As usual, you would feel sad for the young Mariam, an illegitimate child who craves for her father’s(Jalil Khan) love and affection but only gets it once in a while when he comes to visit her with meaningful gifts. Her mother commits suicide and now Jalil is all that Mariam has. She lives for a few days at his beauteous house but soon her step-mothers decide to marry her off to Rasheed, a man more than double her age who owns a shoe-shop. Jalil agrees but regrets his decision later.
Rasheed is a widower. His son had passed away too. When Mariam and he conceived, he was delighted but unfortunately, she had a miscarriage, not once but seven times. Since then, Rasheed grew impatient with her, pointed out mistakes in the food she cooked and was constantly vexed by her.
On the other hand, Laila a perky young girl from Kabul who is loved by her father but not so much by her mother. Laila falls in love with Tariq, her best friend. Due to the coming of war, Tariq with his family decides to move to Pakistan. Tariq and Laila consummate their feelings by making love before he leaves. After some days, Laila and her family also decide to go to Pakistan but the same day her house gets hit by a rocket and she loses her parents, getting severely injured herself. She is taken in by Rasheed and Mariam to care for her until she gets better. Mariam understands that his intentions were not so benevolent and that he would marry Laila as soon as she recuperated. Laila agreed too, keeping in mind the circumstances. She finds out that she’s carrying Tariq’s child, she named her Aziza, not Rasheed’s and managed to keep it a secret but Rasheed was a clever guy who figured it out anyway. Rasheed conspires with a man and weaved a story of how Tariq had died. On hearing the story, Laila is shattered and as heartbroken as she could be.
After a series of awful happenings, Mariam collects the courage and kills Rasheed.
This is not the end. Some people might want to read it for themselves so I am not disclosing it here.
Throughout the book, my heart cried for Mariam, Laila, and Aziza and there wasn’t a time when I didn’t wanna stab Rasheed to death. The book ends on a happy note thankfully but it’s left me saddened at the same time.