Thursday, March 5, 2009

Long live Mr. Hosseini, Long live women !!!

It will take another thousand years before I get to read a book as intensive as A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS.

I discern a deep veneration for the author, Khaled Hosseini , who has crossed all frontiers in sketching a beautifully sensitive, soul-stirring saga of the struggles of the Afghan women. The plight of the vulnerable women of Afghatistan is so pathetic that I feel divinely blessed to be born in India, a land where we have had women as a Prime -Minister, a President, Chief Ministers, Judges, Speakers, political leaders, not to mention the umpteen lawyers, doctors , engineers, CEOs, magistrates, bureaucrats, IAS officers , pilots.....the list goes on and on.
There definitely is an undercurrent bigotry among the two sexes in India , but where in the world there isn't ?

Returning to the crux of the story , I must say I feel humbled to even attempt a review of this splendid novel. The two dominant female characters - Mariam and Laila, whose two diametrically opposite destiny , bring them face to face , are hugely enduring and adorable. Their lives are scarred, shattered , tormented .... and yet they LIVE !

Mariam's life begins as a harami, [ that's what nana (her mother ) calls her] . Born on the wrong side of the bed from the influential and affluent businessman, provincial governor of Herat, Jalil - Mariam's childhood is one of constant humiliation and disregard . Her only tutor is Mullah Faizullah, a priest who infuses in her, faith in the Allah . Jalil loves her, but never acknowledges his fatherhood socially. He has other legitimate wives (three, to be precise ) and other legitimate children ( nine in precise ) to pamper. When Mariam goes to meet her father, Jalil, whom she loves uncompromisingly much against her mother's wishes, she faces disappointment because Jalil refuses to meet her . When the poor distraught girl returns home she finds her nana hanging from a tree.
From here Mariam's life takes many twists and turns - being married hurriedly to a man more than double her age, Rasheed , a chauvinistic demon in the garb of a man , who for the next two decades will rule her - bodily and mentally, battering her to the core - till Laila arrives in her life .

Laila's arrival is both astounding and accidental. When the war - ravaged kabul was firing rockets and bombs, one got hurled on her and she was , in a nanosecond, struck by a cruel quirk of Fate . She was separated from her parents (who too got killed in the bombardment) . And who should find her mauled body but the same demonaical Rasheed ? Yes, Rasheed saves Laila's life , but for himself.
It is shattering both for her and for us readers to see her rooted out of her familiar soil , like a raddish pulled out of the secured earth and thrown into some filthy debris . Even her faithful lover Tariq is not around , to save her !

The novel is an ode to human spirit in general and to women in particular.
I again humbly salute Mr. Hosseini for being so sensitive and perceptive in putting together the myriad emotions of the women protagonists: their subtleties ; their characteristic fragments of traits; their strengths and foibles ; their tremendous resilience and ability to weather all torture , what you may ; and still they so profoundly retain their sensibilities and warmth.
But true it is that how Destiny can digress !!

Laila who was to live the rest of her life as the lover of Tariq , has to marry the same demon , Rasheed !
I swear I never felt so very relieved before , as I did when Tariq resurfaced in Laila's life !

For the sun's warm rays are always welcome in the darkest days.
Although it's very late for Laila, having lost her daughter to an orphanage and her incisor to Rasheed's atrocities, it's never too late to make amendments in life.
I will feel quite happy and blessed if my female readers pick up this book from the stores on Women's Day and read it . I am sure ALL of them will feel themselves blessed to be a part of this epic tale.
To divulge more secrets will be disastrous for anyone who is planning to grab a copy ofA THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS !!!


rajeshwari said...

What other way to celebfate Women's day than to read your review.You seem to have thoroughly enjoyed the book. The review actually shows it. Carry on q.queen.We feel honoured to have you among us!!

Tania sen said...

Your review tempts me to put on my sneakers,grab my car keys and rush to the nearest bookstore to get a first hand copy of the book. Please dont mind me writing this short little comment as you see I'm on my way to get MY copy of the book.Sorry and thanx.

Abhishek said...

I am not a woman yet I liked the book tremendously, basically for the genuine way in which Mr.Hosseini writes.

Geetha Nageshwar said...

I will not risk to say that your review is as good as the book but none the less it shows how much you enjoyed reading the book. I have read THE KITE RUNNER by the same author, but thanx for the review, I have got a copy of The Thousand Million suns.

Ritesh kaushik said...

Hi life springs
I read you blogs regularly though this is the first time I am posting my comments.
Your writings are very original and you are passionate about what you write on.
Since I had read the book some time back I know you have felt very genuinely about the book.
But this not the first time, till now whatever you wrote were sincere and from the heart.

Nida Karim said...

:) Firstly I'm reading ur blog 4 d 1st time,so i liked it.
:) I've read Hossieni's 2 books and I've also seen him at the American Embassy once,so let me tell you he owns a humble personality.
:) As for ur review,sure its a commendable and unique effort from ur side to pay a tribute to his superb work.

SO, I got to read 2 masterpieces- urs and his.
:) (:

~@Dv@iT@ k@L@~ said...

Nice review for a nice book.

Sangeetha said...

A good review, but the book is too enchanting. But its clear that you loved the book.Your writing speaks for you.

Vineet ggarwal said...

Thank you for the review. I finished the book today and am currently trying to establish touch with Mr.Hossaini to help out the women of Afghanisthan.

Chitra said...

I loved the book and your review.Strange some books become a part of you, even if nothing as such has happened in your life.This was a must read book,and yours is a must read review.

Sheena Hussai`n said...

I had started to read the book back when i was in Kabul, and Hossieni's writing gripped me.Reading and seeing what was around me made the whole thing have a double impact on me. You have done a commendable job in reviewing the book.
I hope the conditions in Afghanisthan improves,especially for women.

Julia Parkers said...

Hosseini's works are antique works.He has the rare ability to weave a tail that can touch millions of heart at one go. Therefore your attempt to review his best-selling book is commendable. I can understand that it must have been a difficult task to condense the matter and yet not to leave behind any of its essence.

Anonymous said...

Surfing the net for some matter on Afghanisthan I found ur reviw. I must say u write better than many acclaimed writers. I am so impressed by ur piece that I bought a copy of the same and shall start readng the book.