The reason i bought thousand splendid suns was because i had watched the Kite runner. i had liked that movie and heard a lot of positive things about the writer.
Now when i read this book i gave it 5 stars but i was on a high the one you get after reading a fantastically tragic ending. But after that i have questioned every single detail.
The good parts ( from writing point of view)
Firstly: The Mariam part of the story is very good. It is something very understandable, relate-able and something we all from east have heard, seen or observed (unfortunately). Her naivety, her innocence and infinite believe in humanity. Like every good woman in Asia her effort were pointless and she was blamed for everything which was not her fault. Her consolation and peace was in Quran, one gift she received as a child and probably only highlight of her life.
Secondly: Rasheed, a loner, a widower, who technically buys his very young bride. In the start the guy is good, even considerate. But all his considerations were purely selfish. No children are indeed a sadness. But like a typical introvert he victimizes himself for having to live with such a woman who cannot give him the only thing he wants while he is provides everything for her. In this again the writer depicts a very typical thinking like earning and providing is favor men do, not a obligation given to them by Allah. But than religion restrictions are only for the woman, typically for the obedient and submissive woman. His hatred towards his wife is more because she was not young anymore. Another very perverted thinking which is not actually thought to be very degenerate as it should be.
Thirdly: Laila was like 14 when he entered her in the book, a very young age to be so mature and responsible and to have such a understanding of world. It felt like she was a grown woman not a adolescent. The war, her marriage to Rasheed the suffering and her relation with Mariam was another was again understandable. There was not much character building in this character.
The parts i strongly disagreed with
In Laila’s character writer tried to show an educated class, the class who valued education above religion. He separated education and religion. Religion was a setback while modern education was key to open and better minds. What a clique. Oddly enough religion is followed only by illiterate idiots or perverts and anyone with education does not need religion.
Another thing it was not that Laila and Jalil relation was unforgivable but it was the fact that writer made it look like it was alright that it was actually appropriate, and it was how unapologetic Laila was. Rasheed probably was the last person on earth who deserved loyalty. But then faith does not depend on how people treat you it depends upon us and our actions despite the situation and state. (It was not that Laila’s self defense mechanism was wrong.)
Mariam’s ending was as good it possibly could be, she believed. The writer should have put a little more effort in developing Laila’s character. She was the legacy she could have been little more flexible and accepting when i say that i don’t mean her situation with her first husband. At times she came of as stubborn child not a wise woman. But than i agreed with Laila on many parts it is that this book made me want to defend my religion and books like that could be very hard for me to enjoy without being sulky.