In Kabul, a Tale of Two Women

From The Christian Science Monitor:

Sun In A Thousand Splendid Suns, his second novel, Khaled Hosseini tries to go behind the burqa to describe the lives of two women in Kabul. In an interview with USA Today, Hosseini, who also works as an envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, explained his motivation. “I went to Afghanistan in 2003 and met lots of women and heard so many sad, inspiring, and horrific stories…. I hope the book offers emotional subtext to the image of the burqa-clad woman walking down a dusty street in Kabul.”

Mariam, like Hassan in The Kite Runner, is the illegitimate child of a rich man and a servant. She grows up in a tiny hut with no one to talk to except her bitter mother, Nana; a kind mullah; and her father, who comes once a week to take her fishing. Her mother forbids her to go to school, saying, “What’s the sense in schooling a girl like you? It’s like shining a spittoon.” The only lesson an Afghan woman needs, Nana tells her, is how to endure. When Mariam asks, “Endure what?” Nana replies, “Oh, don’t you fret about that. There won’t be any shortage of things.”

More here.