The story is set in Afghanistan and tells a tale of two girls, with lives so different and yet destined to be intertwined. Mariam is a "harami", an illegitimate daughter of a well-off cinema owner in Herat. By birth she is an outcast, though her optimistic nature fails to entrap her in the lowly stature that society had decreed for her. A tragic event sends her to Kabul, where life only gets harder. Laila is a carefree girl of cultured parentage who spends most days with her best friend Tariq. Soon, their playground turns into a war-zone and Laila loses everything only to find strength in someone who has carried more than her fair share of burdens.
What I liked about this book
Undeniably Khaled Hossaini is a great story teller. His depictions of Afghanistan and his characters bring them to life for the reader.
What I disliked about the book
With this book it was not so much of dislike, it was an emotionally trying book to read. It saddened me to read the trials and tribulations that these two women had to endure (even though it was fictional). I found the storyline to be very depressing. Even the tiny pearls of hope scattered across the plot was not enough to take the heaviness of the subject matter at hand. Personally, I preferred The Kite Runner, though tragic in itself, that book had peaks and valleys as opposed to this one which just seems like an endless field of sorrow.
A quote I liked from this book
Like a compass needle that points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman
This book actually belongs to Siti who has been kind enough to lend me this book as part of her book swap project. Lydia has also posted a book swap list on her blog. I am delighted that there are book lovers out there who, like me, want to share our passion for reading with others. (My book list is at the Book Club)