A Thousand Splendid Suns tells the story two women against the background of the last forty years in Afghanistan. Mariam was born an illegitimate child in 1959 and was married off to a man from Kabul when she was 15. Her husband was abusive and cruel and he forced her to wear a burqa even though many liberal women in Kabul were free to go without it. Laila was born just before the Russian invasion and had dreams of a life of education and travel. A bomb kills most of her family and she recovers from her wounds in Mariam's house. While the woman bond, Mariam's husband has his eyes on Laila. With the emergence of the Taliban, the women have few options, if any.