Wednesday, June 3, 2009
A Thousand Splendid Suns
After reading The Kite Runner several years ago, I absolutely was waiting and waiting for this book to come into the library at Penn. Fortunately, from all my bitching, my mom bought the book through her book club and lent it to me. I was not disappointed. I was trying to figure out what it was that I liked so much about this book. Is it that it takes place in a land far away, yet I still identify with the characters? Is it that is deals with cultural identifications I know little about? Is it that it describes a country which I have only heard in the news as being "bad" as a wonderful place full of interesting people, places and things? Perhaps it's all of these things and more that drew me into this book. For two days, I could not put it down, did not want to leave the story line, could not get the pictures the book created out of my head. The story is of two women, Miriam and Laila and their relationship with each other. The story starts by describing the girls' upbringings (very different), but it leads them to the same place eventually. At the same time, the author has incorporated Afghan history and culture into the story, talking about the ongoing wars, the changes in government, power and overall culture, and the effects these have on the main characters. It's also a powerful testament to the treatment of women in some of these states which practice extreme Islamic law. The story is sad, yes. The characters endure things I could not imagine. There are many hardships, heartbreaking situations, awful circumstances. Yet, I don't doubt this story is true in so many aspects. I was humbled by the storyline and almost ashamed of all I have and all that I will have in my future. It's hard to be reminded that we are very lucky people which very little to want for. This book was beautiful, endearing, touching, heartfelt and phenomenal. I am sure there are people like Laila and Miriam all over the world today. And we should celebrate these women, and fight for more equal treatment of women all over the world.