A Thousand Splendid Sons   View Details   Create a Copy

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

The novel Thousand Splendid Suns centers on the friendship between Mariam and Laila. Mariam lives with her resentful mother while, Jalil her father, a wealthy businessman lives in the town with his three wives and nine other children. Mariam however is his illegitimate daughter and thus shunned from being a part of the family.

On her fifteenth birthday a drastic turn of events occurs when she storms her father’s house asking him to take her to his theater for her birthday. Refusing to see her she ends up sleeping that night near his front door. When she returns to her mother’s home the next day she finds her dead. Her mother had committed suicide fearing Mariam had deserted her. This left her father with no option but to take her in until he arranged a marriage for her to a man 30 years older. She gets pregnant several times but miscarries each, causing her husband (Rasheed) to become more and more abusive.

Part Two of the story introduces Laila, a girl growing up in Kabul who is close friends with Tariq, a boy from her neighborhood. During this time there are strict social boundaries between men and women however the couple fall in love and ignore this. As war come closer the two end up making love right before both families are about to evacuate the town. However Laila’s family are killed and she is left injured, in the care of Mariam and Rasheed.

Rasheed forces Laila to marry her and hopes to have a child with her but she figures out that she is actually pregnant with Tariq’s child. When she gives birth it is a daughter, suspicious Rasheed beats Laila. Mariam and Laila thus become friends bonding together against Rasheed and even attempting to escape him. However he catches them at the bus terminal then beats them and deprives them of water almost killing them and the child.

A few years later, Laila gives birth to Zalmai, Rasheed's son. As war rages on Rasheed's business burns down, and he is forced to take a new job. Bitterly he sends Aziza (Tariq’s Daughter) to an orphanage. With the Taliban in power women are prohibited from leaving their homes without a male escort. This forces Laila to undergo brutal beatings when she is caught attempting to visit her daughter alone.

Then one day, Tariq appears sending Rasheed into a fury. As he almost kills Laila, Mariam steps in and kills Rasheed, Mariam confesses and his executed. Tariq and Laila then travel to Mariams home town where they find a video, a letter, and money from her father stating that he never should have turned her away. The two get pregnant and go back to Aziza orphanage where Laila now teaches. The couple vows if they have a girl to name her Mariam.

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