This book gave me more mixed feelings than any other novel had in a long while.
One minute there was hope in the horizon, light at the end of the dark passage; the very next, it came crashing down like a ton of bricks jarred by a mischievous toddler.
It was no help that the location was Afghanistan and the lives of two women juxtaposed, highlighting their different upbringing, until the effects of war bring them together.
More depressing was the Muslim customs laid out in the book – child brides, uneducated females, hijab-wearing invisible women, etc. A stunning display of the heights patriarchy can be taken to, leaving a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach each time I gleaned an inference or occurrence of any one of them.
Nevertheless, I kept my eyes glued to the pages until the very last leaf; there was no stopping me on this rollercoaster of self – inflicted despair.
Khaled Houseini’s depiction of his homeland and its practices, the Afghan war period and its dire consequences were reminiscent of Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. (Ironically, both titles have the word sun in them. I wonder if the sun played a part in the wars.)
Graphic mental images, hard choices, betrayal, violence (domestic and foreign), survival decisions and the clinging to hope of a better dawn after the dark devastation of war all flowed forth in the author’s easy – to – read yet almost difficult-to-swallow style of writing.