A Thousand Splendid Suns is a chronicle of three decades of Afghanistan’s Modern history (1964-2003) that bases itself on eternal love, surprising friendship, tales of time and an astounding triumph. It is a very simply written story with well chosen metaphors that draws us close to the lives of two women who are the prime characters of this book.Mariam is an illegitimate child from Herat is married off to a much older man in Kabul. Kabul is shown through Mariam’s eyes as a cosmopolitan city with women having due recognition in society. Mariam though is ill treated throughout the book as she could not conceive a child, a son to be precise. Laila, a child living in the same neighbourhood, belongs to a liberal family and is well exposed education.
Political situation transforms itself from the Soviet occupation to growing strength of the mujahideen. Laila at the age of fifteen hopelessly in love with her neighbor Tariq, who has moved out of Kabul to Pakistan, loses her family when a rocket hits her home. She ends up at home of Mariam and eventually marries her husband as she is pregnant with Tariq’s child. During the reign of Taliban, time moves with the unlikely friendship between the two women their attempts to escape, their sharing of - household chores, love towards Laila’s children and brutality from their husband.
In due course Mariam gives up her life for Laila, her children and for her union with her lover Tariq. The story ends with depiction of removal of Taliban and Laila and Tariq’s return to Kabul with their children. Hosseini in this novel spanning across 380 pages very beautifully narrates the tale of two generations, brought together by dreadful war, their struggle towards survival and their hopes of finding love and happiness.