This is a story about Afghanistan and two couples from different social backgrounds living under the Taliban regime yet discovering that under oppression the human condition is the same for everyone.
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The younger couple, named Mohsen and his beautiful wife named Zunaira (a former brilliant teacher in days before the Taliban take over), come from a wealthy background but lost everything in the Taliban regime including their pride.
The other couple is Atiq, a prison keeper (who has embraced the ideals of the Taliban) married for many years to a chronically ill and depressed wife named Musarrat. He is obligated to his wife for saving his life when he was a young man.
Ariq's job is to guard the Taliban's prisoners before they are to be publicly executed for infractions. He is a man who does as he is told and feels that life is cruel for his lot in life with his sickly wife and his passionless mundane existence.
Mohsen is also frustrated and cannot accept the horrible changes in his country that he can do nothing about. His wife must give up her career and can only be seen in public if escorted and veiled. One day in his powerless state, he joins a maddening mob as they publicly stone to death a young woman accused of adultery. He is appalled at his uncharacteristic behavior and is ashamed to tell his wife.
The review of this Book prepared by Nancy Flinn Ludwin