Couple of years ago, I had read the book, The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. It was some book! So, when I got the opportunity to read this book, I lapped it up with gutso. I knew what to expect. Khaled's books are about war torn Afghanistan and how life of simple people are impacted by the war.
This is the story of 2 women who are born at different times. The first woman,Mariam, is born out of wedlock, and raised in a small tenement on top of a hill. When her mother dies, she was married off to a old man by her father and his other wives. The story narrates how life for her changes in the unhappy marriage.
Years after, the Taliban takes over and ravages society in Afghanistan. Families are separated. Many die. A girl from the same locality, Laila, is saved by Mariam .
Mariam's husband wants to marry Laila. He tells Laila that her lover and friend, Rasheed, has died. Laila agrees as she wants a father for her unborn child. Later Laila also gives birth to a son from her husband.
Years later, Laila's lover, Rasheed appears. They meet. When her husband comes to know of the meeting, he is furious. He beats both Laila and Mariam. In a bold action, Mariam kills him. Mariam is killed publicly by the Taliban in the stadium as punishment.
Laila with her children goes away to Pakistan and marries Rasheed . Later, they all come back to Afghanistan to restart a new life after the war is over.
The narrative as usual is gripping. Once you pick up the book and get into the groove, you can not just stop reading. Khaled has done immense research and knows the customs and traditions of Afghanistan and it's tribes very well. Overall, this book is a great read, help you understand Afghanistan and how devastating war can be. A peculiar thing that I noticed in Khaled's writing is that the main characters are of children born out of wedlock. It was the same in Kite Runner. One more story based on it, and it becomes trite.
Khaled had a uniqueness in his storytelling. There is something in his writing that forces one to go silent, stop thinking and just be. The power of the story hits you hard. You are not the same person as the one who started reading it.
My verdict : Awesome!!!