By Khaled Hosseini
Published in 2007
Paperback, 367 Pages
5 on 5!
Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul-they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.
After reading Kite Runner, I became an ardent fan of Khaled Hosseini's work. In Kite Runner, the story was touching and one got to see Afghanistan at the time of turmoil and the life of 2 boys, bounded by love and blood. Of course, I was a bit skeptical, about his second book and there was always a fear as to whether his 2nd work will be as good as the 1st one. But what can I say, this one sucked me in from the 1st chapter. I can tell you, the reason for my fear was the blurb. God! It doesn't do any justice to this lovely story... I am glad I picked it up inspite of not finding the blurb interesting.
The story is of Mariam, Laila and such women in the times of war-torn Afghanistan. It is sad... it is horrible! This one will always be a reference book for me, as it gives you a good outlook of the political environment in Afghanistan during the late 80's and early 90's. I never knew so many things about Afghanistan, as I have learned from this one book. How there were equal opportunities for women there as well and how they destroyed the nation and the people mostly women. The only thing that kept many people going was the hope of something better with each invasion.
"I'm sorry," Laila says, marveling at how every Afghan story is marked with death and loss and unimaginable grief. And yet, she sees, people find a way to survive, to go on. Laila thinks of her own life and all that has happened to her, and she is astonished that she too has survived, that she is alive and sitting in this taxi listening to this man's story.
It is hurtful to see the way women were treated. You could feel the pain, the torture and the hurt that each new regime put down on the women there. Women were once respected and loved there...but then they were ordered not to be out of house at all. This way if they were widows, there was no way they could earn for there children. There was no way they could do anything but die of hunger.
There are men who are loving and not cruel at all but there are those who are just like Taliban.
I can't go on without giving away the story. This book reminds me why I like reading books by authors from other nations. And this one also helped realise, how blessed our life is here.
Lovely writing and great detailing of the life there. If you like multi-cultural fiction, and would like to see the life in Afghanistan till the US and the UN reached there to help them out in the 2000s, you must read this one. Highly recommended!