Myriad Emotions in few pages........
If you have visited Kabul with Khaled Hosseini before then you may not be looking for reasons to go on the journey again with his second book, Thousand Splendid Suns.
Hosseini is one of the best story tellers I have come across so far. Reading his work is almost like watching a movie. The picture he paints through simple language and strong characterisation, is his USP. I love the way he explains relationships. It appears he has a deep understanding of what people close to him are all about. The Kite Runner dealt with relationship between a father and a son along with other significant alliances. This novel decribes simple yet complicated relationships between: mother and daughter; daughter and father; husband and wife and few more.... some unwanted...some unexplained.
Hosseini, in the book, deals with plight of women in Afghanistan. The story revloves around two characters: Mariam and Laila. The first half of the book introduces you to a bastard -- Mariam. Yes, Mariam is a harami or so she is made to believe and be ashamed of her existence. And this is not the only burden this illegitimate daughter of a wealthy man lives with. She pays the price of being hopeful of gaining acceptance in her father's home. Little does she know that the affection she saw in her father's eyes or in the gifts he bought, when he visited her, was not enough to allow the world to know that she was his daughter. A series of events lead her to marry a much older shoemaker named Rasheed.
Parallely, Hosseini tells the tale of Laila, a beautiful teenager leading a good life in Kabul. I like the chastity in her relation with Tariq. Something very close to love.
Some turn of events and Laila and Mariam's lives cross each others. It's beautiful knowing how these characters learn to respect each other and fight the common 'demon.'
The sheer storytelling ability of Hosseni makes it difficult to put down the book at any time. He succeeds, like in his first attempt, to bring out various shades of humanity from cover to cover.
Ending Note: Of betrayal from people you trust the most & trusting the ones you never can .....Khaled Hosseini explains the turmoil and tranquility the best.
'Like a compass needle that points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman.'