This is the first novel I've read by Khaled Hosseini and was the last read selected by my book club. We got together over the weekend to discuss and of the seven of us attending, five of us liked it (maybe more so) and two hated it (an understatement). I believe this was the first time in the year since our book club has been meeting for a book to be so strongly disliked.
Taking place in Afghanistan, it is the story of Mariam and Laila, both brave and resilient women born into a culture where is it accepted to physically abuse women. This book is not for the faint of heart. Fate has brought together these two women to endure the harshest of realities that are to most people unfathomable. Making the best of a desperate situation, together they form a friendship which is essential to their survival.
While I can't say I liked or enjoyed aspects of this story, I did appreciate the bond created between the female characters that amazingly brought brief joy in such dire circumstances. When our group was polled as to whether they would choose to read another title by the author, five of us (including myself) agreed we would and the two who disliked the book would not. My stepdaughter received from us for Christmas the author's new release And the Mountains Echoed . Being that it is in our house I will eventually read it.
Next up for our book club (a light-hearted request) The Cookbook Collector, by Allegra Goodman