Mariam an uneducated,illegitimate, ‘Harami- Bastard’ of Jalil and Nana(her mother), living on the outskirts of Herat, visited Jalil living with three wives and nine legitimate children despite nana’s suicide threat. "I’ll die if you go. The jinn will come, and I will have one of my fits. You’ll see, I’ll swallow my tongue and die. Don’t leave me Mariam jo. Please stay. I’ll die if you go”, begged Nana. She visited Jalil's abode that eventually cost her Nana's life. During that ordeal at the age of fifteen, she was forced to marry a man named Rasheed who was too older than her and who lived in Kabul.
Laila, a fifteen year old girl was Rasheed’s neighbour.She was raised by intellectual parents who had endured a lot of hardships during the war, She lost her only brother; had to farewell her friend-Tariq; and then the great loss of her life- lost both of her parents. All that remained was an unborn child, with Tariq. Ultimately, all these circumstances led her to marry that same old Rasheed who was double her age.
The friendship between Laila and Mariam grew strong. Mariam who was never loved; who was never connected with anyone in her life got a family’s love from Laila and her children. However, Rasheed’s house was full of violence and brutality that operated according to that despicable brutal mood. Laila and Mariam were beaten like animals, they had to be scared in their own home by their own husband, they had to be cooped up when he was around, and his sour temper infected the household day by day.
After all those wretched years they had overcome, they got justice in the end. Laila got the life she wanted, she again found her love Tariq who came back questing her whereas Mariam had to sacrifice her life for Laila’s family.
“One couldn't count the moon that shimmer on her roofs, Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”
There will be teary eyes while reading this domestic violence. Women like Laila were subjugated by men like Rasheed. Male - household of the family beating their own family members , women suffering ,hiding and still rising behind the walls. Hosseini has impeccably written the story of women like Mariam and Laila, the misfortune they had faced throughout their life, violence and war, and eventually peace of Kabul.
The heartwrenching novel will break your heart, infuriate you and the story will remain within you like you were the one who faced it; like you were the victim. I’m sure you will appreciate the life you have now. I might be subjective, but this book is worthy of 5 splendid stars. Give it a try!