A Thousand Splendid Suns is the story of Mariam and Laila. It is the story of Rasheed the husband they share and the children Aziza and Zalmai. The book is divided into four parts. The first is about Mariam, the second two about Laila and the last alternates between the two. While the overt story is one of relationships between the husband and his two wives and the children the actual story lies beneath simmering quietly to erupt every now and then. It is the story of Afghanistan and the various powers it reels under. Starting with the Soviet occupation, followed by a brief respite before the Taliban enforces its harsh rules against women the book mirrors the struggles of the women in the suffocating relationship they share and the sorrows that unite them.
As the writer talks of the Taliban rule, the demolition of the Bamiyan Buddhas or 9/11 my eyes teared up. Towards the end of the novel when Laila returns to Afghanistan to seek out and find closure for Mariam, I was openly sobbing.
A heartwarming novel. The language is simple and laced with references to the myriad Afghan dialects. The typeset is easy on the eye and the book itself makes for an easy read.