THE PLOT: An illegitimate child of a wealthy man, Mariam is forced to marry and move to Kabul from Herat. She lives a hard life with her much older husband throughout the late 70’s and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. However, her friendship with a local teenager, Laila, helps her to survive her marriage and oppression when the Taliban takes over.
RATING: A beautiful five-star novel, it allows you to get under the skin of Afghanistan and explore the recent history of the country. Weaving two heart-warming central characters and a well-paced plot with historical detail, it’s sure to be a winner for most readers.
GOOD BITS: Afghanistan has always fascinated me and this novel truly feels like you’re transported into the country. From the poetry of Herat to the Buddha’s in Bamiyan and the vibrant streets of Kabul, it completely draws you in. The characters, Laila and Mariam, also replicate this sense of beauty and intense heartache. The struggle of the country and two characters become one.
NOT SO GOOD BITS: The last few chapters dragged a bit. After being so engaged, it felt like there was too much resolution after the big climax. I understand why this was included but it felt like I was watching the dust settle.
OVERALL: Over ten years ago, I read The Kite Runner, which settled Khaled Hosseini as a truly epic writer in my mind. It’s wonderful to read another one of his work. I will 100% read the rest of his novels and I’m bound to cherish each one.