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' A Thousand Splendid Suns': That which is behind the veil

When the much-televised reign of Taliban in Afghanistan was beamed into our homes, did it ever occur to you what was inside the figures blanketed in blue - the Afghan women who were strictly, to put it lightly, kept 'in order'. Well, it did enter my mind. I wanted to know what went on in the hearts of these women. What did they feel at the torture meted out to them - fear, anger, hatred or even, guilt in some strange way? Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns tries to get inside that abaya, into the homes these women inhabit, into their lives...and into their hearts.

Though even Hosseini cannot claim to know these most elusive women inside out, he does seem to do justice to their many tragedies. The book is the story of two women, Mariam and Laila, who become sister-like friends in the most unexpected of circumstances. They see the many changes in power that their country goes through, and the many wars which batter it completely. Mariam is resigned to her fate at being a woman in a male-dominated country and is ever-resilient. But Laila is in for a rude shock as her life of liberty is snatched from her and she is thrown in to share Mariam's nightmare.

Sometimes, it is hard to believe that it is a man, Hosseini, who is writing the book and not the women themselves who are forming the words on the pages. Oppression does not come by choice, but sometimes it is suffered due to helplessness. This is one of the insights this story gives us. It is as if, we the reader, are being secretly taken into a world which will never unfold before us.

With A Thousand Splendid Suns, the author faced a classic situation that comes with any second book after a hugely successful first one. And Hosseini does not disappoint. Though he is far from his country, his attachment to it is evident, as he quotes Saeb-e-Tabrizi's love for Kabul:
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.
Even more heartening is the fact that Hosseini is not all words. He is an active social worker for Afghani refugees. Visit his site for more.
Book Review 7605908661275738413

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1 comment

musafir said...

i read Khaled Hosseini's 'Kite Runner' sometimes back. a heartrending tale , the first half made me think that it may be Hosseini's real story.
suffering has no religious or political afffiliations..the pain you feel when you see someone suffering and the instant wish you get that the suffering is gone is the purest form of your love towards the Creator and the Creation. all other religious formalisms come only after this love.

i am looking forward to read Thousand splendid suns.

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