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“No”. That one word is often the freedom that Afghan women have had since 1978. Before reading this book in a country where a women almost became president, I knew women’s rights were an issue in other countries. However, I never really understood it like I do now after reading A Thousand Splendid Suns. The author, Khaled Hosseini, having been born in Kabul, Afghanistan and lives in California; Most definitely saw this misunderstanding and wrote A Thousand Splendid Suns to give us a glimpse at a women’s life in a third world country. Having earned his M.D. and a PhD in physics, you can rest assured that Hosseini is a very bright man. Rightfully so, Khaled Hosseini also offers a special perspective as being native to Afghanistan and most importantly, he is a Goodwill Envoy of refugees for the United Nations . He has also started The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit organization to help people in Afghanistan. Khaled Hosseini has high family values, “It’s my father I can’t leave,” Laila said. “I’m all he has left. His heart couldn’t take it either.” Tariq knew this. He knew she could not wipe away the obligations of her life any more than he could his. (2.25.50-51)” exemplifies the importance of family and that is all they have in Afghanistan, each other.
Our novel opens up in with our protagonist lacking a proper family, being born as an illegitimate child or harami; which in english translates to “bastard”. “Mariam, was an illegitimate person who would never have legitimate claim to the things other people had, things such as love, family, home, acceptance. (1.1.6)”, needless to say, Mariam had a rough child life. We fast forward into the future, where Mariam is married to a vulgar and crass man named Rasheed. The Soviet coup has taken place, and Afghanistan is now a place of turmoil. Our second protagonist, Laila, breaks onto the stage as a small school-girl from Kabul. She lives an ordinary life up until her parents death, which was caused by a stray missile from local warlords fighting. Rasheed finds Laila stranded, and takes her in as his second wife. He is not a well-hearted man, and can be considered evil at times. Laila and Mariam eventually kill him, when he had an outburst and was going to choke Laila to death. Being in a Taliban state, this would mean execution for both of them; however, Mariam becomes our “team player” and turns herself in for Laila to be able to flee Afghanistan. While Mariam may be gone from her earthly presence, “Mariam is in Laila’s own heart, where she shines with the bursting radiance of a thousand suns. (4.51.37)”.
After having a wet eye from reading this, I would rate this book among some of my favorites. I would highly suggest reading this book if you are a critic of feminism, as it shines light on the reason for feminism to exist and why it is needed in some parts of the world far greater than others. I would also suggest reading this book, if you want to be angry, sad, happy, and scared all in one book. Overall, Khaled Hosseini created a masterpiece that everyone who lives in a sheltered environment should read.
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