A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

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Chapters 4-5 Summary

Unlike her mother, Mariam loves having visitors at the kolba, especially her father, Jalil. He visits every Thursday, and Mariam’s anxiety begins every Tuesday night as she waits expectantly for Jalil’s visit. When Nana announces that Jalil is crossing the stream to the kolba, Mariam contains herself and waits patiently by the door, knowing that Nana is watching her. Then she runs into her father’s arms and looks down on his smiling face while he tosses her into the air. Nana says that one day, Jalil will miss, but Mariam feels safe in her father’s arms. Nana serves the two tea, and she inquires about Jalil’s family, having heard from Bibi jo that one of Jalil’s wives is expecting another child. Jalil says that yes, he will now have ten children, and Nana reminds him that he has eleven including Mariam.

On occasion, Jalil brings Mariam presents, and during a visit while he tries to tell her about the overthrow of King Zahir Shah by Daoud Khan, Mariam spots a bulge in his pocket. Jalil takes out a box containing a leaf-shaped pendant. But Nana tells her that the pendant has been made from melted coins and claims that Jalil should bring Mariam gold. Mariam begins to dream of living with her father as one of his children in Herat.

On her fifteenth birthday in the spring of 1974, Mariam tells Jalil that she wants him to take her to his cinema to see a showing of Pinocchio. Nana immediately says that it is not a good idea, and Jalil claims that the picture quality is not good. But Mariam will not be swayed and she asks Jalil again. He finally consents and tells Mariam that he will meet her the following day at noon to take her to the cinema. Nana is furious and tells Mariam that jinn , evil spirits, will befall them. The next morning, Mariam puts on her best dress and waits by the stream. As time passes, Mariam tries to...

(The entire section is 526 words.)