“A Thousand Splendid Suns”

what will you do if you are born as a harami? a child out of wedlock.
Mariam didn’t know the word her mother Nana called her when she’s upset
She was too young and too innocent to understand
She was quite happy Jalil, her father, came to visit every Thursday
and tell her stories about the world outside of her little shack
she admire her father so much that she ignored her mother words

What did you asked on your 15th birthday? Mariam never forget hers.
She asked Jalil to take her to the cinema and meet her siblings
her mother try to stop her, even Jalil discourage her with many reasons
Mariam knew what she want but she didn’t understand the implications
When her father didn’t show up that day, she went to look for him
she found a big house but couldn’t get in, she was told Jalil wasn’t home
She wait outside the whole night just to find out Jalil was there all along
she run home but grieved to find her mother die hung herself on the tree

How do you escape someone whom you come to hate so much?
Jalil took her into his home, but she knew she doesn’t belong there
Her father’s wives forced her to get married to an old widower
she didn’t want but can’t refused either, even Jalil didn’t try to help her
so she got married to Rasheed a shoemaker from kabul and leave at once.
She realized her mother was right, she promised not to see her father again.

khaled-hosseini-thousand-splendid-suns

What do you expect when you get married in such a young age?
Rasheed was kind enough to give her time to adjust her new living
But soon she has to behave as a wive, cleaning, cooking and coupling
She was giving a burqa, long dress to cover the whole body and a veil
Rasheed believes a woman’s face it’s her husband business only
amazingly she took it as an honor, she enjoy her husband protection

What if God didn’t answer your prayer?
live went quite good for Mariam, she got her own house and husband
She pray to God that He will sustained what she has now
Then she got pregnant, Rasheed was so happy and bought boy’s stuff
they went to the public bath and she found herself with blood
They lost the baby, she was grieved, he blamed her for that.
Live is not the same anymore…

That’s the first part of “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini
The same author who wrote The Kite Runner.
If you have read the book, you know the rest,
but if you care to find out more you may wanna read it for yourself
I want to invite you to enter the life of Mariam and Laila
and getting to know about these two women who meet by fate…

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learn from another writer….(5)

Princess Sultana (not the real name) was born in the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia. She’s the youngest of 16 children with only one brother Ali, whom was treat like a god. From childhood she learn that her culture adore male and despise female. Female born only to serve and be an object to men. Although she live in wealthy family, but she suffered from not having a relationship with her father, a spoiled and controlling brother, seeing her sister fall into a terrible marriage, her mother pass away and many thing else. Luckily she got married to a young and modern man Kareem, who graduated from a Law School in London. Although later on after Kareem request to have a 2nd wife, she felt that Kareem just like any other Arab men, but her life consider much better than many women in her country.

This book is really an open door to the mystery Life in Saudi’s Palace, especially the life of their women behind the abaya and black veils. This is a real story where Sultana speak through Jean Sasson, the author. She talks about woman circumcised, sexual abuse in and outside marriage, the law in Moslem religion, and her view about other cultures. She dream and fight for Arabian’s women freedom.

Some part I like:

Chapter One: Childhood
Our lives were so cloistered and boring that even our mother took pity on us. That day, she actually joined her daughters on the floor of the hallway to peep through the balcony and listen to the men in the large sitting room below us. I, as the youngest, was held in my mother’s lap. As a precaution, she lightly place her fingers on my lips. If we were caught, my father would be furious. (page 38-39)

Chapter Two: Family
That evening at dinner, Mother proudly passed on the remark about Sara to Father. Father, who was visible pleased, smiled at Sara. Mother beamed with pleasure, but then Father cruelly asked how any daughter born of her belly could acquire learning. Nor did he credit Mother with any contribution to the brilliance of Ali, who was at the top of his class at a modern school in the city. Presumably the intellectual achievements of her children were inherited solely from their father.(Page 46-47)

Chapter Three: My Sister Sara
Unfortunately, Sara’s tears served only to harden Father’s heart. I overheard her entreaties to him. She became so unbalanced in her grief that she accused our father of hating women. She spat out a verse of Buddha: “Victory breeds hatred, for the conquered are unhappy.” Father, his back rigid with anger, turned and walked away. Sara wailed at his back that she would have been better off unborn, since her pain so overweighted her happiness. With an ugly voice, Father responded by saying that her wedding date would be moved up to avoid stretching out her pain of anticipation.(page 56)

Chapter Four: Divorce
Islam gives the right of divorce to men, without any question of motive. Yet it is very difficult for a woman to divorce her husband. … But Sara’s husband relented and uttered the words “I divorce you” three times in the presence of two male witnesses. The divorce was final in a matter of moments.(Page 70)

Chapter Five: Ali
I felt my breath sharpen as I recalled the hurt I had felt as I watched my father hold Ali’s hand and lead him proudly through the grand entrance of the mosque – always leaving me, a lowly female, at the side of the road to stare after them in sorrow and anger. (Page 77)

Chapter Six: The Trip
In Milan, Nura spent more money in a matter of days than most people earn in a lifetime. It was as if she and Ahmed shopped in frenzy with a deep desire to fill some lonely void in their lives. (Page 94)

Chapter Seven: Journey’s End
We were leaving mother behind in the empty vastness of the desert, yet I know it no longer mattered that there was no stone placed to mark her present there, or that no religious service were held to speak of the simple woman who had been a flame of love during her time on earth. Her reward was that she was now with her other loved ones, waiting there for us. (Page 101)

Chapter Eight: Girlfriends
I was fearful for my friends. I warned them again and again of the consequences. They were young and reckless and bored with their life. They laughingly told me of other activities they did for diversion. They dialed random phone numbers until a foreign man answered. (Page 115)

Chapter Nine: Foreign Women
Marci shared the stories of her people so vividly That I felt myself a part of her history, her land, her rich culture. I knew I underestimated Marci and other Filipinos, for until then, I had given them little thought other than to consider them simple folk lacking in ambition. How wrong I was! (Page 123)

Chapter Ten: Huda
I was shivering from the impact of Huda’s prediction. I began to blurted out that Huda had bragged to me once about being a witch, that her mother had been a witch before her, and the power had flowed from her mother’s milk into the suckling infant that was Huda. Indeed I moaned, only a witch could recognize such a one as evil as I. (Page 146)

Chapter Eleven: Kareem
Not only was Kareem the most handsome man I had ever seen; his sensuous eyes caressed my every move and made me feel quite the loveliest creature on earth. Within minutes of our strained introduction, I knew he would never call off our engagement. I discovered in myself a surprising hidden talent, one that is most helpful to women who must manipulate to achieve their goals. I learned I was a natural flirt. (page154)

Chapter Twelve: The Wedding
Finally, he stood tall and straight before me; I was suddenly overcome with emotion. I felt my lips tremble and my eyes water as I fought against the urge to weep. When Kareem removed my face-cover, we both burst out laughing, our emotions and joy were so intense, The audience of women began to applaud loudly and stamp their feet. In Saudi Arabia it is rare that a bride and groom find such obvious pleasure in each other. (Page 168-169)

Chapter Thirteen: Married Life
Each morning I happily walked Kareem to the Gate. Hard at work at his law firm, he would leave by nine, which is early for anyone, particularly a prince, to begin work in Saudi Arabia. Few member of the royal family arise before ten or eleven. I was certain Noorah watched us from her bedroom window, for the moment the gate closed behind hi, Noorah would begin to call my name with the greatest urgency. None of the thirty-three servants employed in her household would do; she would cry out for me to serve her hot tea. (Page 176-177)

Chapter Fourteen: Birth
The cheering of the physician and his staff awoke me from a shadowy hollow. A son were born! I was sure I heard the physician whisper to his head nurse: “The rag-head in the dress will fill my pockets for this prize!” My mind protested at this insult to my husband, but a deep slumber took me from the room and the remark was not recalled for many weeks. By that time, Kareem had awarded the physician with a new jaguar and fifty thousand English pounds. (Page 199)

Chapter Fifteen: Dark Secrets
In an effort to discourage Sara from any reckless acts, I related the story of the young girl waiting to be stoned to death. Sara, as I, was distraught, but her plan remained solid. With increasing trepidation, I agreed to be her cover. she burst out laughing at the thought of meeting Asad without supervision. He had arranged to borrow a friend’s apartment in Manama, the capital of the tiny country of Bahrain. (Page 206)

Chapter Sixteen: Death of a King
There were few female cousins who did not love King Faisal. For he was our sole chance for change and ultimate freedom. He alone had the prestige with both the religious men and the royal factions of our land to further the cause of women…Sadly, we women knew that our one change for freedom was buried with King Faisal. Page 218-219)

Chapter Seventeen: Women’s Room
For many nights sleep deserted me; I was consumed by emotions of despair and helplessness. I, too, had heard rumours of other condemed woman in my country receiving the punishment of women’s room, but I had never had a picture in my mind of the reality of the drawn and anguished howl of someone I had known, a woman who had embodied the life and hope of our land, a woman no ling in utter blackness, without sight or sound to sustain her life. (Page 238-239)

Chapter Eighteen: Second Wife
Kareem could mouth any deception he chose; but I understood the implication of his taking a second wife. The desire for children was not his real reason. The issue was primitive. We had been wed for eight years; sexual license was his aim. Obviously, my husband was weary of eating the same dish and sought a new exotic fare for his palate. (Page 247)

Chapter Nineteen: Escape
In Paris, I hired a full-time housekeeper, a driver and a bodyguard. Then , under an assumed name, I rented a villa on the outskirt of Paris. After such a confusing trail, I felt secure that Kareem would never find us. (Page 259)

Chapter Twenty: The Great White Hope
When Asad brought Sara uncensored copies of American and Europe magazines and newspapers, we were astonished to see that the women soldiers were quite attractive. Many were mothers. Our understanding could not let us imagine such freedom. Our modest goal involved only the acts of uncovering our faces, driving and working. Our land now harboured those of our sex perfectly prepared to meet men in battle. (page 271)

Learn from another writer…(1)

I am reading a novel called  Golden Grove and this is my first time reading Francine Prose writing. It’s an interesting stories about a 13-year-old girl name Nico who lost her sister Margaret whom she loves and adores. As she try to recover from her lost, she falls into a relationship with her sister’s boyfriend. Honestly I haven’t finish reading yet, but I love how the writer express her thoughts in this Nico’s character and want to share some of my favorite lines in this book.

About the Mirror Lake

I picture the four of us wading in the shallows, admiring our reflections in the glassy, motionless lake. Then something – a pebble, a raindrop – breaks the surface and shatters the mirror (page 1).

Comparing herself with the sister

People told us we looked alike, but I couldn’t see it. Margaret was the beautiful sister, willowy and blond. The lake breeze carried her perfect smell. She smelled like cookies baking…I was the pudgy, awkward sister. I still smelled dusty, like a kid. (page 8)

Feeling of  making a bad choice

I always took forever deciding, until I’d finally give up, give in, and settle on something awful. I knew it was only ice cream. But the lumpy cherry vanilla and the gross butterscotch mocha raisin seemed like a frozen symbol of everything wrong with my life (page 16)

Try to runaway from the reality

I kept my eyes shut the whole time and blocked out the service by chanting nonsense inside my head. I tried to imagine a beautiful place. Margaret had taught me to do that when I went to the dentist. But nothing worked, there was nowhere to go. Not the lake, not the rowboat, not Times Square, not Paris. (page 24)

Time is agonizing when you are loose someone you love

I waited for dawn, but only because I had forgotten how hard mornings were. For a second, I’d feel normal. Then came the dim awareness of something off, out-of-place. Then the truth came crashing in, and that was for the rest of the day. Sunlight was a reproof. shouldn’t I feel better than I had in the dead of night? (page 37)

Ruin her own protection

I’d made this rules for my own protection. But every so often I broke one just to see how it felt. (page 44)

Sympathy for her father

As I rejected book after book, I saw what my poor father had to endure. His customers …asked how he was getting along …Or they’d tell him how sorry they were and gaze into his eyes, their own eyes brimming with puppylike adoration. Their literary Romeo, he was everything their husband weren’t – a reader, a listener, sensitive and handsome. Now that he’d been wounded, they took on his injury as their own. Everyone of them could have healed him, and she knew just how she would do it. (page 57)

Try to get along with mother

In the cramped changing cubicles, I twirled around for my mother. I knew what would please her – practical, subtle, unsexy. And I wanted to please her more than I care about looking pretty. Especially when nothing looked pretty. I might as well listen to her. Margaret said she didn’t understand the unflattering outfits I bought with Mom on these trips. How odd that Mom’s thrifty inner puritan should choose to emerge at the mall. (page 72-73)

That’s how far I go. Francine is the author of fifteen fiction books including A Changed Man and Blue Angel (I wish to read those book soon) which was a finalist for the National Book Award. This book was named a best book of the year by Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle and St Louis Post-Dispatch. It’s a must to read!