This is an older book that I re-read. One I love to re-read a 100 times if I could :) There is something about this book that is so endearing and heart rendering though the subject it deals with is anything but.
The book deals with life in Afghanistan during the Taliban era and a little before that period. It focuses on the women mostly - Mariam and Laila. The book starts off with childhood of Mariam and takes us through her journey of life. Dealing with an insecure mom and a father who does not want her, her childhood is taken away when she realizes she is an illegitimate child. A series of events cause her to be taken in by her father only to be married off to a man 30 years her senior. The author portrays her blind acceptance of her fate, even her numbness at being shunted aside for her inability to beget a child. When her husband takes on a second wife, she can only feel sorry and hide it inside. Laila: the second wife struggles with the aftermath of losing her love and being forced to marry Rashid to avoid being cast out. She shares a fragile bond initially with Mariam, one that is very hostile. The women then bond and become each other’s strength through the birth of Laila’s child. A series of circumstances then leads to tragedy, heartbreak, sacrifice and redemption for these women.
Now on why its awesome: It takes a special breed of sensitivity to portray and show the respect the author has shown for women here. It depicts everything a woman stands for : class, grace, strength, love, faith, sacrifice and general support system of the larger society.
I have had some bad experiences with books that fall into the romance category. I needed something light and refreshing to read after a heavy dose semester and decided (albeit very uncertainly) to try out reading a regency novel by Mary Balogh. There is something about regency period that draws me to it , too much downton abbey effect I think ;)
This was a truly delightful read. I hope her other books are as good as this one, then Ms. Balogh has me a fan for life. It is nice to finally read a book that depicts the regency time period, has well rounded out characters, easy storyline, a heroine that doesn’t whimper and faint at the sight of an ant (roll eyes) or a hero who thinks forcing himself upon women and saying “I will have you before this week” is a sign of machoism.
The story is about two people who are forced to marry due to circumstances. The heroine ran away with her coachman (gasp!) and is now cast out from the respectable society. The same one that snickers and gossips in private but walks around in public with nose touching the moon. She has been scandalized and no man will come forward to marry her. The hero has been running around amuck and has gone a little crazy. His father has made a lot of money but was born with red blood instead of heroine’s father’s blue colored one. The two families are neighbors but pigs will roost in trees before they acknowledge each other’s presence. Due to these events, the hero’s father threatens to disown the hero if he does not marry the heroine (read: gateway to blue blood society) and the heroine’s father will have only pride left to eat and show off if she does not marry the hero. (on a side note: What does it say about blue blood who are willing to hawk their daughter to the richest guy in town?) What could have been a love-hate relationship is so off beat and funny. Twists and surprises and a truly delightful end.
There are times when the feminist in me gets up and roars quite load. (Side Note: Mention that word and my husband gets all mad. He says I should not bucket myself into a category instead just call myself the stubborn mule that I am ). On one of those days, I delved into books I’ve read and loved and picked out the best that focus on women and their lives.
Classes finished finally. I cannot believe I have just one blessed semester to go before I officially graduate. It has been a hectic 3 years , hopefully worth it all.
Summer is always fun since its officially break from the university. Somehow every summer I make plans to update blog more and never get to do it. There is something about being more busy when you have nothing to do than when you are swamped. I have so many books on the backlog that it will take me 10 summers to finish reading it.
I just finished reading a book by an Indian author. The Good Indian Wife by Anne Cherian. I have mixed feelings about this one. It could have been really good - the struggles of NRI vs loving home, the fears of a new bride in arranged marriage scenario. Somehow it got stuck between wanting to be a chicklit vs focusing on issues. It started off quite well, I could actually relate to the heroine’s fears about being married late (in a society that think the sole purpose of a girl’s life is to get married and anything over 25 is considered late ), her hesitation about the wedding, living life with a man unknown to her in a continent several thousand miles away. So far so good. It fell flat when it came to the hero. He is everything that a stereotype can fit - angry, arrogant, totally lost between two cultures, without virtue, two timer who can’t decide who to be with - his girlfriend or his wife. I am grossed out usually by stories of Extra marital affairs but this was a step beyond that. It was pure narcissism. She should have booted him out in the end not accept him. Whatever!
It definitely is not as bad as the other book I read - the dowry bride. That had banal dialogues, scenario-stretched-out-like-chewing gum- storyline, unbelievable scenarios and worse of all offensive, stereotypical portrayal of humans without delving into characters at all.
What is with Indian authors? Are there any good suggestions? The next on queue is Jhumpa Lahiri books.
Listening to songs from Bluffmaster, there is a line in one of the songs “I’m a good girl, but I’m a bad boy”. Hmm typical. Why do girls fall for bad boys? Here are some of my crushes, all time love etc etc etc
The JD Robb one = Roarke.
And the scruffy one at the end = Sirius Black
After the post on best movies based on books, this is inevitable, don’t you think?
I’m a little bit of a book snob. I very solemnly believe that its extremely hard to convert books into good movies. Surprisingly there are some gems out there. While some make me cringe (fodder for another post), these ones are really praiseworthy.