Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

thousand splendid suns

The time when I went to buy novels to the stall, I mostly purchase from, I searched the novels by their names. I picked and kept too many novels of known authors and randomly chose A Thousand Splendid Suns*by Khaled Hosseini. I had already read his first piece of marvel ‘the kite runner’. Therefore I was more or less sure of his theme of the novels i.e Afghanistan, his motherland and its people.

The Story:

I started studying the life of Maryam (a character). She had been an illegitimate birth, with no sin of her own. She was the most deprived child, I ever read about. Her innocent childhood was associated with her Mammy, Maulvi Faizullah and Jalil. These were the few acquaintances she had. She spent her initial teen years with the blames n curses of her mother, Quranic and ethical lessons of Maulvi Sahb and the desperation towards the nobility of her existence and relation with Jalil. She wanted to earn the honor like every other common folk. But she was pronounced as ‘’Harami’’, though initially she didn’t know the meaning. She fought harder to achieve Jalil’s name in father’s place but there was nothing for her. To Mammy, she was her all world. Cursing, realising and then loving back was, Mammy’s nature. She was everything to Maryam, which she later realises. Maulvi Sahb had remained one kind hand to her, always.  And Jalil was one unkind father, she ever expected kindness from.

When she tried to fight for her legal identity and rushed to Jalil, there she lost her Mammy. Mammy thought of Maryam’s deceiving escape, attempted suicide….. Maryam’s decision turns her world upside down. She found no one empathizing her guilt and pain except Maulvi Sahb. He only consoled her.  By the time she was drowned in the grief, there came an enormous storm, which flew away everything left with her. Maryam was sentenced to tie herself with a guy Rasheed, aged 45 years. She waited for Jalil’s view in her favour but found no answer. Therefore she compellingly welcomed the life full of violent-hardships.

Initial days with Rasheed, went normal. But then consecutive miscarriages brought harsh and torturing face of Rasheed. Spending decade under cruelty, she turned into a silent n emotionless being. She remained quiet, approving Rasheed’s disgusting egocentricity. Once Jalil, visited her house and intended to meet his illegitimate daughter, but Maryam showed no interest and ignored totally. So he left a letter, which was torn by Maryam.  The circumstances grew testing her more, when she had to face the tyranny of Rasheed’s another marriage.

Laila was just eighteen, when married to sixty years Rasheed. Laila and Maryam had no interaction at first. Birth of a girl Aziza and cruel scenarios inside the home, led both Laila and Maryam together due to mutual pacing. Both of them shared their previous eras of life…. The sorrowful and delightful happenings.

Laila was quite sensible and mature due to a literate background. She on and on favoured Maryam against the wild attitude of Rasheed. Therefore Maryam turned grateful to her and so there started a continued journey filled with loyality. Suffocated with the critical conspiracies in Afghanistan, their country, Soviet Union was knocked out and Taliban took the charge. Laila birthed her son Zalmayi, at a place private and hidden from Talibs, as it was abandoned for their Muslim Women to leave homes for any reason.

Maryam was pronounced as ‘khala’ from both children. She was pleased to have such adorable life-changers. She brought the comfort, care and enchantment to their lives. There came a time when Maryam and Laila both escaped from the tyranny of Rasheed and the on-going circumstances of Afghanistan, in search of relief. But they were caught by the police and  were sent back to Rasheed’s custody. That time, both were beaten to nearly death.


Both the women were then treated equally, the cheapest level by Rasheed. The time drew worst faces when their circumstances led them to live hand to mouth and then there were times when Rasheed was jobless and they had to send Aziza to the orphanage, for insufficient basic availabilities. Their hearts were crying, when they lied to Aziza by dreaming of upcoming good days. Innocent soul with watery eyes, said farewell but took promise for ensuring their visits to her.

Rasheed being a free-of-work man, takes Maryam to contact Jalil, her father. But he was witnessed as a dead, years ago. Her heart sank into the memories of her childhood, when she ran after him with desperation of love and identity but nothing such was destined. She cursed herself for ignoring Jalil’s presence at her doorstep, she cursed and cried for everything which did as a reaction to his silent approval. She remembered, how he taught her to fish from the lake. She missed the pride of a so-called father.  Her destiny snatched from her, one more hope. She buried herself with this grief. Rasheed on the other hand, abused her, for a lost opportunity to get loaf.  With a broken heart she moved to her way to home.

Laila took the stand to meet the challenges bringing adversity. She went out to earn but was abused and treated with violence by Talibs, for not being with ‘Mehram’. She and Maryam kept visiting orphanage, where they got satisfaction to see their kid Aziza with better conditions. On her return to home, she saw Tariq, her ex-fiancé, her love, her friend, her soul… she with in no time rushed to him closer to verify her sights…leaving behind Maryam n Zalmayi. Rasheed got a job as a gate keeper in a restaurant.

Tariq kept visiting Laila’s home where they shared their memories, their unforgettably-violent pasts and their love, which turned out in the phase of Aziza. It was revealed that Rasheed deceivingly married Laila, being aware of her love. Laila was given complete relief and privacy by Maryam. These all meetings were spied and leaked by Zalmayi to his father Rasheed. He aggressively stood and beat Laila first and then Maryam. When he tried to kill Laila, Maryam abolished his reign forever. She never wanted Laila to sacrifice herself with the way, she did for Rasheed. And therefore Zalmayi turned into an orphan. Maryam and Laila were out of their senses…they were both lost and confounded to tell this truth to killed-father’s son, Zalmayi. Laila wounded badly, lingered to her son and excused his father’s absence, as the departure for some piece of work, held outside.

Laila and Maryam were shattered due to the incident. Laila wanted to escape from this cruel place, taking her children together with Tariq and Maryam. But Maryam denied to move, she was all set to be presented as a murderer of their husband as she was afraid of meeting the questioning-eyes of Zalmayi in search of his father. She let Laila to move on for her future. Laila laid in her lap, with disapproval, cried aloud….persuaded to her best, but was not successful and so finally moved.

Maryam was caught red-handedly and was sentenced to death by Talibs. She was jailed. She faced everything with a silent-pleasure on her face. Inside she was content to put her illegitimate birth into a permissible demise. Throughout her life, her recognition was set, with no persuasion to her. As the last moments got closer, her heart burned with the memories… she wanted to protect Mammy, she cursed to ignore Jalil, her sufferings, her teenage, companionship with Laila, the children, Moulvi Faizullah and everything she could… Her heart pondered to see Laila, the marriages of her young ones and everything she had no right to see longer. And so she bent herself ….

Laila on the other hand was far comfortable being wife of Tariq in Pakistan. It took longer for her children to accept Tariq as their father.  After a year to their relationship, on Laila’s wish…they got back to their motherland Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai took the charge and things were in phase of betterment. Laila visited the places, she used to be at. Atlast she visited Kabul, Maryam’s birth place. She met Moulvi Faizullah’s son, who handed her a box as the inheritance of Maryam, as she was no more.

Laila opened the box and found three things: a cassette, a letter and some money. She read the letter and found that it was Jalil’s apology letter to his daughter, where he confessed his failure to adopt her as his offspring, he regretted for his silence when he was most needed to her, his cries for his killed and shattered family, his loss of property, his hopes for meeting and begging for her daughter’s approval. His eyes wanted to be brightened up by her daughter’s appearance. He waited to see her, in his last moments…….he left the letter with some money to Maryam, if she would be back for him.

Laila was broken and tears peeped out of her eyes…in silence, she felt the tormented-incompletion of lives. She wept for Maryam, the way she sacrificed her life…..the way she showered love…the way she saved Laila…..

My Opinion:

I read about less a dozen novelistic-stories and was admired by the positive and constructive approaches. Sometime I was delighted by the withdrawal of negative energies. But I never cried for anyone, the way I cried for Maryam…reading n feeling and writing this, I hide my face so as to not to show the pain, I am going through. Even after weeks, I cannot forget the pain I felt from the pain of an unfortunate daughter ….. the cruelty of the time…I wanted to jot so as to share the pain, I feel for her.


Get the Book: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Shumaila Khan

Shumaila Khan

Shumaila Khan is a Masters Degree holder and works professionally as a teacher in a Cambridge System. She is also a Melodious singer,a keen Reader, an Observer, Blogger and Writer. She also posses good I.T skills. From the nature, what attracts her the most, are the SILENCE and HATRED from the attitudes.
She loves selfies because she believes in her identity and wants to be a 'known writer'.
'' From where they reject, I accept''
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Shumaila Khan

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6 thoughts on “Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

  1. Shumaila, it was a very well written review. No wonder Khalid Hosseini is one of the best writers of this age. Keep up the good work, Shumaila.

    1. I am truly blessed, having surrounded by admirers. In sha Allah, will be seen with much enhanced colours. Thank you :*

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