A Thousand Splendid Suns by khaled Hosseini is about a 15 year old Miriam, married and sent to Kabul without her will. Her entire life is a struggle against patriarchy, starvation, violence and brutality and a fear that lurks constantly over her.
While the plot sounds truly traumatic the heroism that is portrayed despite the hindrances is startling. In spite of being subjected to so much torture and hopelessness, Mariam is defiant and doesn’t give up till the end.
The first time I read this, I cried the entire night. The book had just come out and I was only a part time reader, the one who picks up a book when someone would recommend me, or when I’d really be bored, or when I’d come across a book and I’d really be interested in the plot. My teacher recommended me this. She had seen me reading now and again, trying to divert myself from every other stuff going on in my life. She saw me reading and she gave me this and one other collection of short stories.
I came home, as lost as always and dove right in. I didn’t get up even for dinner. I didn’t care for dinner when a little girl almost as young as me was being beaten, who shed blood like water form her body, who had no hope left in her life, no love; no one. Isolation was her only friend.
This was fiction. Why was I crying? I think I was moved beyond repair.
Since then I have read this book time and again. Every time I devour the pages of this book, I cry just the same. I don’t know about others, but this book does something different to me. You might not find this to be so poignant but I did then, and I do still.
Then, why do I keep picking this up, again and again?
This book taught me that fiction could do things to you, sometimes more than reality. This book taught me that somewhere between the pages I could lose myself. This book taught me that words are powerful. This book taught me so much more and it was with this book that I fell in love with reading and eventually writing.
Then, why am I doing this review now? Because I read Sea Prayer! by the same author a few days back and it ignited all those long lost memories of the book. I didn’t know even tears bring nostalgia. And because I read a sea prayer I was drawn to this book too, again. It took all my might to stay away from this one, only because I have been reading four books simultaneously and all cry for my attention. And among all those I really shouldn’t have started this one. Start, I did!
And I forgot the rest for a while. I don’t know how my self-control has gotten so weak but it has and honestly, I don’t regret it.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is dear to me, despite all its hardships and tears that the protagonist and I go through side by side. And I love the book. I love The Sea Prayer, The Kite Runner, and I liked And the Mountains Echoed too, but this is exceptional. It holds a different place. I am not saying this is my ‘favorite’ book, you must know me better than this, that I truly cannot pick one favorite book from so many. I can only say it is dear to me.
This being posted on the National Book Lovers Day is just another cherry for me. But then again what is this kind of celebration to someone who reads and reads only to be alive?