Mariam and Laila are two decades apart in their age. They are as different as chalk and cheese but yet their lives entangle in an unimaginable way.
Mariam born a harami (illegitimate) is brought up by her mother where they stay in a kolba up in the hills from the city of Herat. After her mother’s death her father Jalil an affluent man in the city arranges for her marriage with a man named Rasheed who is a widower and 30 years her senior. After her marriage to Rasheed, Mariam moves to far off Kabul, where Rasheed is a shoemaker. Mariam feels betrayed by her father’s behavior towards her and vows never to see him again.
Laila who grows up in Mariam’s neighborhood in Kabul is a bright and a pretty girl. She is the apple of her father’s eye. Her father a school teacher, before the Soviet invasion in Afganistan believes in equality among boys and girls. He encourages Laila to study. Her friends too believe that Laila would go on to be somebody important while they will be soon married and have children. But her life turns upside down, when the love of her life Tariq leaves Afganistan with his family to Pakistan on the outbreak of war. Soon afterwards when her family is about to leave Kabul, a rocket shatters her home killing her parents.
Laila now an orphan is taken in by Rasheed and Mariam. She later agrees to Rasheed’s proposal to marry him. Rasheed now over 60 and Laila barely 15.
Go grab the book to find out what life has in store for Mariam and Laila. This is one book I am sure you won’t regret picking up.
This is a story of love, betrayal, courage, sacrifice but more importantly of hope. A hope of a better tomorrow. This could be a hard-hitting at times. But let me assure you this book has a happy ending. It ends with a hope.
I liked the prose and the metaphors used in the book. Talking about the metaphors, I can’t stop myself from writing my favorite line from the book
“Like a needle of the compass always points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman”
I have been a fan of Khaled Hosseni ever since I read Kiterunner. He doesn’t disappoint with this one.
Ratings : 4.5/5