Afghanistan, to many, is either the mysterious country in One Thousand and One Nights or “that dangerous cradle of terrorists one must never near. ” However, through the eyes of two women, Hussein pulls back the Burma and shows us the real Afghanistan-??the political instability, the religious fanaticism of the Taliban, the sexism, and most importantly, how innocent citizens struggle to cope, taking us deep into the culture. A Thousand
Splendid Suns tells of love, friendship, difficulty, and endurance in Afghanistan in dark times. The book begins with two separate stories which later intertwine to present the book’s strongest values. Miriam, an illegitimate child leading a traditional Afghan life, after her emotionally unstable mother dies, is married off to Rashers, a shoemaker who becomes abusive after Miriam miscarriages multiple times. Leila, a much younger, modern, and educated city girl, is badly injured after a rocket kills both her parents.
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While recovering at Rasher’s home, Leila agrees to marry him after he is lied to about her sweetheart’s death and discovers she is pregnant. Initially, Miriam is jealous of Leila, but they eventually bond together to defend themselves from Rehashed and later kill him out of desperation. Hussein’s enlivens the text with vivid descriptions of terror and destruction. As a reader could feel the Afghans’ tension and dread-??constant fear of the Taliban tearing apart a family, a rocket sinking the house, more fights among local factions.
However, besides the troubles of the outside world, women gust also bear problems from their households. Through their eyes, Hussein gives voice to these otherwise voiceless people, showing their unmoving strength and endurance despite poor conditions of poverty, disregard and undervaluation. Leila, out of love, endures Rasher’s verbal abuse and the Italian’s vicious beatings to visit her daughter. Miriam, out of friendship and love, sacrifices her life courageously so that Leila and her children can live freely.
While men like Rashers and the Taliban in the story use their physical trench to bring panic and violence, women like Miriam and Leila use their love and care to bring peace and joy to the people around them. Through this process, women such as Miriam, who were deemed useless Hiram, were able to find meaning and purpose in their lives.