1 Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Though there are countless such occasions where the narration of the story let the readers feel what would have actually happened, however, I am quoting one such incident below to demonstrate the story telling skill of the author (it should not be considered as best part of story):

“Downstairs, the beating began. To Laila, the sounds she heard were those of a methodological, familiar proceeding. There was no cursing, no screaming, no pleading, no surprised yelps, only the systematic business of beating and being beaten, the thump, thump of something solid repeatedly striking flesh, something, someone, hitting a wall with a thud, cloth ripping. Now and then, Laila heard running footsteps, a wordless chase, furniture turning over, glass shattering, and then the thumping once more.”
It is a big question mark whether change in power affect the common man. The novel demonstrates that the relationship is indeed redefined if there is a change in guard at national government. It has been widely known the hatred of Taliban against the women. The author depicts the state of a common man of Afganistan before Taliban and during their regime.

It is a story of two women Mariam and Laila starting from their respective childhoods. Their story was moving ahead with the national politics, where first Russian were ruling the country, then proxy ruller of Russia, Talibani regime and subsequently American influence. Mariam was born out of wedlock and always treated as “harami”, her original father had to marry her with a widower cobbler, Rashid. The other girl, Laila, who was at least twenty years junior to Mariam was in love with her childhood friend Tariq. Laila lost everyone of her family in a bomb explosion. She was also injured and Mariam and Rashid took care of her to heal her wounds. She was pregnant with her boyfriend who left Afganistan for settling down in Pakistan. She did not have any other option but to submit herself to the lust of the husband of first women, Rashid. All the while, she posed, as if the child in her womb was conceived by Rashid. Otherwise Taliban would have executed her if Rashid would have come to know that she was bearing child of her boyfriend out of the wedlock. Initially Mariam envied with her, because she was getting more attention from her husband and she was thinking that Laila who was quite young at that time snatched her husband. Women were ought to get thrashing from their husband. When Laila started getting flayed by Rashid, she became good friend of Mariam.

Laila and Mariam once tried to flee away from Afganistan and settle down in Peshawar. She was caught by Talibani forces and handed over to Rashid, who became crueler. It was the time when Rashid became jobless and Laila gave birth to her second child from Rashid. The family had to go through hunger and first child of Laila, the daughter of Tariq was sent to orphanage secretly posing that the child had lost her parents in bomb attack. Both of them used to meet her in orphanage several times and Taliban forces used to flog them in public for moving without male members of family.

The hunger, poverty and unemployment let the two women became more vulnerable to be beaten by Rashid in worst possible and in inhuman way. When Mariam saw no hope she killed Rashid. The Taliban court gave her the capital punishment and she was gunned down in public in a Stadium. Finally, Laila met Tariq in Pakistan and they return back to Afghanistan when American forces captured Kabul in the retaliation of 09/11.

It seems to me that Premchand took birth again to describe the suffering of people. Yes this time he was born in Afganistan travelled through France and settled down in US and narrate the story of suffering of the common man through his beautiful story. Like the novel of Premchand this book is also a sad ending.
I believe it is very easy to write happy ending novel and very tough to maintain the interest level of readers in the sad ending story. The author did wonderful job. A great story teller. In my last review of yet another book, I mentioned the authors are supposed to tell the non-obvious part of story. Mr. Khaled Hossaini did marvelous job. I will wait for his next novel.

1 comment:

  1. Hey keep posting such good and meaningful articles.


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