I haven’t been affected by a book like this for a long time, nor thought about one for this long after finishing it. This story that spans 30 years between two generations is one of brutality of women under different regimes in Afghanistan. Mariam and Laila share their separate stories before they come together to help each other through the darkest part of their lives under the Taliban. This unrelenting story about sacrifice and hope is one that I will hold close forever.
I am so grateful to Khaled Hosseini for giving this insight into a land I know so little about, for within the story giving the cruel history which I can understand a little bit better now. And he does it in a way that makes my heart ache for the destruction of these cities and lives of these women. His writing is seamless and really manages to somehow put me in a country and culture I’ve been so ignorant of.
This story was hard to read a lot of the time, I’m not going to lie. Of course, I had heard that Hosseini’s novels were usually depressing, but as time went on, I kept waiting for a turnaround that felt like it would never come. It was hard to read this novel, but Mariam and Laila gave me strength to keep going, as weird as it sounds. They brought hope through their bond and the bond of the children that even through the worst of times was enough to keeping waiting for a light at the end of the tunnel.
Hosseini understands somehow so clearly the extreme fears, and in this case not so extreme, of women. He showed this through these two characters, and I will respect them forever. Laila for her outspokenness and her desire for change and Mariam for her sacrifices and endurance of her life. They are true heroes that I am so, so grateful for.
Khaled Hosseini is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and needless to say, I’ll be picking up his other books very soon.