Excerpt: 'A Thousand Splendid Suns'

Jalil didn't have the dil either, Nana said, to do the honorable thing. To stand up to his family, to his wives and in-laws, and accept responsibility for what he had done. Instead, behind closed doors, a face-saving deal had quickly been struck. The next day, he had made her gather her few things from the servants' quarters, where she'd been living, and sent her off.

"You know what he told his wives by way of defense? That I forced myself on him. That it was my fault. Didi? You see? This is what it means to be a woman in this world." Nana put down the bowl of chicken feed. She lifted Mariam's chin with a finger. "Look at me, Mariam."

Reluctantly, Mariam did.

Nana said, "Learn this now and learn it well, my daughter: Like a compass needle that points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman. Always. You remember that, Mariam."

Excerpt from A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS by Khaled Hosseini, by arrangement with Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., Copyright (c) 2007 by ATSS Publications, LLC. In stores May 22nd.

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