What a story! The word that would best describe it is already in the title… I do not even know where to start and I kept thinking about a way to review all the different elements I wanted to talk about since I finished the book yesterday. I had heard a lot about Khaled Hosseini and his amazing works but this particular book really made me appreciate every part of his writing style, the depth of the hidden meanings of his stories, the witfully studied characters I ended up being ‘attached’ to and the breathtaking choices of words and often overlooked details that make the reader truly feel a certain truthfulness to the story.
The story revolves around two incredibly brave women named Mariam and Laila during the Soviet and post-Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Their path crossed unexpectedly after going through a series of almost unbelievable amount of difficulties as a result of the war, the neglect of an extremely conservative society as well as the collapse of ambiguous family structures amidst an ungracious cultural environment. The first part of the book tells the story of Mariam followed by a second part focusing exclusively on Laila before narrating the collision of their own eventful journeys in the least expected manner. A real page-turner in which every turnaround took my breath away when I witnessed the genuine creativity of Khaled Hosseini and his ability to continuously surprise the reader with frustrating yet meaningful outcomes that triumph in beautiful lessons of courage and love.
What I enjoyed the most about this story is the feeling of witnessing the characters grow through their own journeys, each time digging deeper in their ability to push through their lows as if keeping their eyes on the “highs” full of hope and optimism was the ultimate factor between their capacity to stretch the muscle of courage. Adding to this the strength of the love story between Tariq and Laila, the heartwarming friendship that formed from the depth of shared struggles between Laila and Mariam and the overwhelmingly beautiful triumph of family values amidst a society crowned by the word “separation”. A feeling of continuous empathy accompanied me when reading this story, for I thought that the injustice suffered by both women was unbelievable: how could Nana, Mariam’s mother, make her feel so illegitimate until she can’t dissociate herself from the label “Harami”? What about the appalling behavior of Rashid? And so many more questions came to my mind…
I cannot recommend this book enough! I wish everyone could read it and discover a moving story full of beautiful lessons on courage, friendship, family, love, justice and everything a curious reader wants to find in a book!