Author: Kahled Hosseini
Rating: * * * *
Hosseini’s second novel traces the lives of three generations of women living in a turbulent period in Afghan history; from the Soviet occupation to the overthrow of the Taliban. The focus is on two women desperately trying to survive under Taliban rule, whilst enduring the wrath of their misogynistic husband, Rasheed. As in The Kite Runner, Hosseini paints a portrait of friendship and love, but also of resilience.
Hosseini’s style is one of simplicity which renders the novel fairytale-like. He uses stock characters, such as Laila, the young, beautiful, yet strong-willed heroine; Mariam, her older, discerning, but doomed accomplice; Mullah Faizullah the wise, knowledgeable teacher; and of course Rasheed the oppressor. Accompanied by meticulous descriptions of Afghani life and landscape, the novel skilfully develops awareness of a complex subject. Of course, in true Hosseini-fashion it is also a page turner that brings every reader to tears.