This is a heart-breaking story, both in terms of Afghanistan’s history and the people who were made to suffer because of religious dogma and political strife. The two protagonists, Marian and Laila, are forced to marry the same sadistic, woman beater, Rasheed, and live a life of terror and hardship. The domestic violence and cruelty depicted at the hands of this abusive husband were so brutal, I had to take a breather at times before continuing my reading. Luckily, not all the men in the story were painted with the same brush.
Afghanistan’s political scene is presented starting from the years of the Soviet takeover of the 1980s to the period following the bombing of the Twin Towers and the Taliban invasion. It seemed a little surreal for me to read about Afghan people watching the same horrifying footage of the plane crashing into one of the towers as I also had back then.
The terrible hardships suffered by the people of this war-ravished country, especially the women, are gut-wrenching. But overall, it’s a poignant story where love and hope triumph over evil. I left a part of my heart with these people and admire their great courage.