Bibliophilia: (2) A Thousand Splendid Suns

Source: Google images.

Reading about other people’s misery can sometimes be quite helpful; it makes you  realize you’re not suffering alone.. And with the current overwhelming ”political congestion”, I decided to finish reading Khaled Husseini’s novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns..

That novel portrays the endless suffering in Afghanistan along the years. Although the last few chapters really broke my heart, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the book. And except for few paragraphs that I had (as an obssessively-strict reader) to skip, I can’t help but admit that the novel is perfectly written..

Here’s the most heart wrenching part, where “Mariam” met her destiny: (SPOILER ALERT)!

Thousands of eyes bore down on her. In the crowded bleachers, necks were craned for the benefit of a better view. Tongues clucked. A murmuring sound rippled through the stadium when Mariam was helped down from the truck. Mariam imagined heads shaking when the loudspeaker announced her crime. But she did not look up to see whether they were shaking with disapproval or charity, with reproach or pity. Mariam blinded herself to them all.

Earlier that morning, she had been afraid that she would make a fool of herself, that she would turn into a pleading, weeping spectacle. She had feared that she might scream or vomit or even wet herself, that, in her last moments, she would be betrayed by animal instinct or bodily disgrace. But when she was made to descend from the truck, Mariam’s legs did not buckle. Her arms did not flail. She did not have to be dragged. And when she did feel herself faltering, she thought of Zalmai, from whom she had taken the love of his life, whose days now would be shaped by the sorrow of his father’s disappearance. And then Mariam’s stride steadied and she could walk without protest.

An armed man approached her and told her to walk toward the southern goalpost. Mariam could sense the crowd tightening up with anticipation. She did not look up. She kept her eyes to the ground, on her shadow, on her executioner’s shadow trailing hers. Though there had been moments of beauty in it, Mariam knew that life for the most part had been unkind to her. But as she walked the final twenty paces, she could not help but wish for more of it. She wished she could see Laila again, wished to hear the clangor of her laugh, to sit with her once more for a pot of chai and leftover halwa under a starlit sky.

She mourned that she would never see Aziza grow up, would not see the beautiful young woman that she would one day become, would not get to paint her hands with henna and toss noqul candy at her wedding. She would never play with Aziza’s children. She would have liked that very much, to be old and play with Aziza’s children. Near the goalpost, the man behind her asked her to stop. Mariam did. Through the crisscrossing grid of the burqa, she saw his shadow arms lift his shadow Kalashnikov. Mariam wished for so much in those final moments. Yet as she closed her eyes, it was not regret any longer but a sensation of abundant peace that washed over her. She thought of her entry into this world, the harami child of a lowly villager, an unintended thing, a pitiable, regrettable accident. A weed. And yet she was leaving the world as a woman who had loved and been loved back. She was leaving it as a friend, a companion, a guardian. A mother. A person of consequence at last. No. It was not so bad, Mariam thought, that she should die this way. Not so bad. This was a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate beginnings. Mariam’s final thoughts were a few words from the Koran, which she muttered under her breath.

“He has created the heavens and the earth with the truth; He makes the night cover the day and makes the day overtake the night, and He has made the sun and the moon subservient; each one runs on to an assigned term; now surely He is the Mighty, the Great Forgiver.”

“Kneel,” the Talib said.

“O my Lord! Forgive and have mercy, for you are the best of the merciful ones.”

“Kneel here, hamshira And look down.” One last time, Mariam did as she was told.

I guess now is the right time to pick an  uplifting book, The 7 habits of highly effective people would do fine! 🙂

7 thoughts on “Bibliophilia: (2) A Thousand Splendid Suns

  1. Absolutely agree with everything you’ve written here. Even though the book ends on a relatively happier note, there was a smile mixed with sadness and hope when I finished reading the last line. It’s terrible to know that there are so many more Mariams out there being terrorized for no fault of theirs, reality is there could be girls going through stuff which are far worse, even.

    What sickens me more is the fact that these boneheads mix up Islam with weird customs it never approved of in the first place, and they call it “Islamic” to show the world. They distort the facts and distort the religion!
    The book had a very good pace throughout, it never felt like he was dragging it, not even once!

    P.S: Seems like we have the same list of books in mind 🙂 Next on my reading list was 7 habits of highly effective people too! lol
    Wanted to read it for the same reason: to cheer myself up! 🙂
    (sorry for this essay-type comment :P)

    • I agree with you! But I have honestly knew nothing about “Taliban” before reading Khaled Husseini’s books, I don’t know if they’re the way he described.. But if it’s true, then they have absolutely got nothing to do with Islam or with humanity!
      And the last line, oh my God, I so wanted to cry, but I was at college so I had to hide it!

      Our Ophthalmology professor recommended The 7 habits last year, he said it has changed his entire life! 🙂

      P.S: Here you another “essay-type comment”! 😉 😛

  2. I just finished the book. I’m in a english class (Grade 12) and we were reading it our class started it a week ago and there at page around 74. Lol i just finished it i loved every second of the book the ending was PERFECTION. It made me understand how people will fight for what they love! and i loved that book! Its changed my life! Thank you. If anybody ever reads this! Read the book! if you havent.

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