A Thousand Splendid Suns
There is only one, only one skill a woman like you and me needs in life, and they don't teach it in school. Only one skill. And it's this: tahamul. Endure.
—Nana, to her daughter Mariam
A Thousand Splendid Suns is a 2007 novel written by Khaled Hosseini. The story follows the lives of two Afghan women, Mariam and Laila, and how they eventually intertwine together, spanning from the 1960s to 2003.
After her mother's suicide, Mariam, a lowly harami is sent by her rich father to marry Rasheed, a shoemaker and businessman living in Kabul. She at first tries to get used to her new life, but after having multiple miscarriages, she is made miserable by Rasheed's growing abuse. Years later, in 1987, the story moves to Laila, a girl who lives down the street from Mariam and Rasheed. When Laila is 15, her house is blown up by a rocket and she is taken in by Mariam and Rasheed. She then marries Rasheed, who is eager for a pretty young woman, as his second wife so she can pass her unborn child by her childhood friend and (supposedly) dead love, Tariq, as his. However, after giving birth to a daughter, Aziza, and eventually a son, Zalmai, things go down fast between the newlyweds. After some initial friction, Mariam and Laila eventually become best friends and confidantes, united against their common adversary, their abusive and manipulative husband. It culminates in Mariam killing Rasheed with a shovel trying to protect Laila during a fight.
The book is divided into four parts: The first details Mariam's early life, the second details Laila's early life, the third details their lives together under Rasheed, and the fourth describes Laila's life after Mariam is executed for Rasheed's murder.
- Arranged Marriage
- Bittersweet Ending
- Dead Guy, Junior: At the end, it's implied that if Laila's third child is a girl, she will name her Mariam.
- Domestic Abuser: Rasheed again.
- Driven to Suicide: Mariam's mother, after she came to the conclusion that Mariam was abandoning her for her father.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Laila thinks about aborting Zalmai, but cannot do it.
- Honor Before Reason: After killing Rasheed Laila says that they should just run. Mariam chooses to stay behind to take the blame for killing Rasheed so that they won't come looking for Laila. However, the family has kept a secret TV buried in the backyard that they pull up every so often. They could have buried him in that whole and no one would have ever found out until they were long gone.
- Hope Spot: So, so many.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Rasheed's demise. You know that it would make things so much worse for the heroines but it is so satisfying.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Mariam, who desperately wants a child, has had SEVEN miscarriages. Laila, on the other hand, unexpectedly gets pregnant her first time with Tariq.
- No Woman's Land: Once the Taliban take over.
- Someone to Remember Him By: Aziza is this. Later becomes a Subverted Trope when it is revealed that her father is alive after all.
- Victorious Childhood Friend: Tariq, to Laila.