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Khaled Hosseini - A Thousand Splendid Suns

The novel centers on two women, Mariam and Laila, how their lives become intertwined after a series of drastic events, and their subsequent friendship and support for each other in the backdrop of Kabul in the 20th and 21st century. It is split into four parts that focus on individual stories: Part one is about Mariam, part two is on Laila, part three is on the relationship between the two women, and Laila's life with Tariq is in part four. The last section also happens to be the only part written in the present tense. Mariam lives in a kolba on the outskirts of Herat with her embittered mother. Jalil, her father, is a wealthy businessman who owns a cinema and lives in the town with three wives and nine children. Mariam is his illegitimate daughter, and she is prohibited to live with them, but Jalil visits her every Thursday. On her fifteenth birthday, Mariam wants her father to take her to see Pinocchio at his movie theater, against the pleas of her mother. When he does not show up, she hikes into town and goes to his house. He refuses to see her, and she ends up sleeping on the street. In the morning, Mariam returns home to find that her mother has committed suicide out of fear that her daughter had deserted her. Mariam is then taken to live in her father's house. Jalil arranges for her to be married to Rasheed, a shoemaker from Kabul who is thirty-years her senior. In Kabul, Mariam becomes pregnant seven successive times, but is never able to carry a child to term. This is a sad, disquieting reality for both Rasheed and Mariam. Ultimately Rasheed grows more and more despondent over his wife's inability to have a child and particularly a son. As their marriage wears on Rasheed gradually becomes more and more abusive.

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WriterKhaled Hosseini

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