A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul–they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

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Mariam and Laila meet in a refuge camp.  They’ve been rounded up after both of their town endured months of bombing they were placed in this expanse of tents and told to make a new life.

They are neighbors, and even though there’s a twenty year gap between the older Mariam and 30 year old Laila, they begin to talk.  The two women are from completely different words.  Mariam lived her entire life in her now destroyed village, married a man down the street, who was then killed when the fighting began years ago.  Laila came from a wealthy family, and was training to be a doctor when she heard that her brother had run away.  She had followed him to a small village, just in time to be rounded up with the rest of the townsfolk.  Her family doesn’t know where she went, and the military men who took them to this spot didn’t believe her background.

Laila knows that her brother is somewhere in the camp, and Mariam agrees to help her find him.

The begin their search on the far side of the growing city, trudging from tent to tent.  Many people refuse to talk to them, afraid of what they want.  Others tell the guard, who become increasingly hostile to the two women.  No one believes that Laila’s brother exists, yet the two women keep searching.

They’re taken in for questioning several times, as guard believe them to be enemy spies.  Eventually Mariam  decides that she’s too old for the constant pressure, and tells Laila that she can no longer help her.

That night Mariam has a dream.  She sees her husband, talking with a young man.  When she tries to interrupt he waves her away, telling her that since she rejected his new friend he will have nothing to do with her.  She wakes up in a cold sweat, realizing that the young man’s face was familiar.  He was one of the guards!

She rushes to tell Laila that her brother joined the army, and the two women rush to the guardhouse.  Sure enough, there he is.  Laila is furious, and the two begin to argue.  He tells her that he won’t come home, he’s found his path here.  She tells him that he’s making a stupid, rash decision and she’s going to tell her parents.

Laila is so furious she looses all her sense, and runs towards the camp’s entrance.  People call out, saying “The spy is trying to escape!”

Another guard sees the fleeing woman and raises his gun.

Mariam moves just fast enough to put herself between the bullet and Laila.  For a split second she can see her husband’s smiling face before her world goes dark.

She wakes in a white hospital bed, with Laila asleep in a chair next to her.  When the young woman wakes, she explains to Mariam that she was able to stop the bleeding long enough to get her to a hospital.  Her brother had pacified the guard, and finally confessed to lying about his identity, and the siblings were able to transfer Mariam to a hospital in the city, where they now were.

Mariam would heal in time, and live to godmother all of Laila’s children.  Once a year, on the anniversary of her shooting, Mariam would tell the children of the bravery of their mother, promising them that as long as they followed her example, they too could accomplish all their goals.

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