The story follows the lives of Mariam and Laila, two Afghan women who end up in a polygamist relationship with a man named Rasheed. The novel is split into four parts: Miriam’s childhood and early marriage to Rasheed, Laila’s privileged childhood, the relationship that forms between the two women, and Laila’s life after her marriage to Rasheed.
It’s mostly the story of an unusual mother/daughter relationship and the place of Afghan women in their culture. It’s such an empowering and yet, disturbing, story. The women of Afghanistan are often portrayed as demure and subservient, but Khaled Hosseini paints an entirely new portrait of them as fighters with extreme inner strength.
I loved this novel. I loved the women most of all. They were real and their stories were powerful and meaningful. It makes me wonder how many Afghan women are suffering through lives of quiet desperation. Very powerful work, five stars from this blogger!