Winston Smith, a low-ranking worker, begins to doubt ‘the Party’. Hidden in his apartment, away from the glaring ‘telescreen’, he keeps a secret diary of his thoughts and frustration; he questions the power of the ominous ‘Big Brother’ and the manipulation and contortion of public opinion, history and truth. In his subtle rebellion, he finds Julia and together they fight against oppression from mass media control, government surveillance and totalitarianism.
In a world in which President Trump and his administration report falsehoods and lies, scrutinise research-led environmental data and place new research and development on hold, it is unsurprising that the novel’s notion of a terrifying and plausible dystopia speaks to so many. 1984 notably highlights despairing themes of a twisted, totalitarian world and the necessity to resist deceit and mass control. As one of the most influential works of fiction ever written, it is a powerful admonition.
Mariam was just fifteen when she was ousted from all that she knew. Her new life in Kabul with her husband Rasheed was a long way from the kolba and her memories of Nana and Mullah Faizullah. Though, it is this city that she shares with young Laila. Both victims in their own right and born a generation apart, Mariam and Laila are connected by the onslaught of war, loss and chance. The two are valued only for reproduction – in their home as well as in society. Finding solace only in their sisterly connection, the two women form an extraordinary bond that shields them from their victimisation.
Propelled by the tale of two women and two cities. It is a story that does not evade the unbearable realities of war and the complexities of Afghan society. From the Soviet occupation to the unravelling inner conflicts of the Mujahideen and the rise of the Taliban, this energetic narrative depicts Afghanistan’s political history through the gripping domestic worlds of Mariam and Laila. For its unlikely friendship, compelling test of time and unwavering love, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a masterful story.