The story A thousand Splendid Suns begins with an introduction of Mariam's life. She is 5 years old and an illegitimate child of Jalil and Nana. Jalil is a successfully men in the city of Herat. Nana was first a housekeeper from Jalil. When she got pregnant of Jalil, she and Mariam were banished to the Kolba. Nana is so bitter about the banishing that she teach Mariam at a young age how bad men's are specifically her father. Once a week Jalil visited Mariam and brings her a lot of candy and presents. Just before Mariam's fifteen birthday Jalil comes to visit Mariam. He describes to her the movie Pinocchio that plays at his cinema. Mariam got so curious about the movie that she asked Jalil to take her to Pinocchio in his cinema as a gift for her 15th birthday. Nana finds it a bad idea and Jalil agreed with Nana. But Mariam insists that she once to see the movie and Jalil finally agree with Mariam. The next morning Mariam goes to the place where Jalil and she had agreed to meet each other. She had ignored the insults and threats of her mother that said that if she goes she would kill herself. When Jalil didn't show up she decides to walk to his house. When she arrived there Jalil servants told her that he was gone. She slept on the doorstep outside that night waiting on Jalil. The next morning Mariam the chauffeur of Jalil took her against her will back to the Kolba. When they arrived there the Chauffeur suddenly starts to yell to her: ''Go back, go back! '' First she was surprised, then she saw why the Chauffeur was yelling. Nana had hanged herself. The first days after Nana's death she lived by Jalil and his tree wives and children. But soon Jalil and his wives told Mariam that there was a suitor for here that she couldn't refused. First Mariam didn't want to hear about it and she said that she wanted to live with Mullah Faizullah the elderly village Koran tutor. He was not only a tutor of Mariam but also a good friend of her. But that wasn't an option for Mariam. She had to marriage her suitor. His name was Rasheed, a thirty year older men than here. He was a shoemaker for famous people in Kabul. She moved to Kabul and the first days weren't that bad. But soon Rasheed got worser than worst. Because of the fact that Mariam couldn't give him a son he had longed to. He begins beating her and suppressing her.
In the second part of the book you will meet Laila. You get to hear her story of Afghanistan. Laila is a nine year old girl and very studious. Her parents are Hakim and Fariba. They lived in the same street as Rasheed and Mariam. Hasima and Giti are the best friends of Laila. Laila has also a good friend called Tariq. They spend much time together and later they fell in love. There was a lot of war in the country. Communists had taken over the country. One day an Afghanis man came at the house of Laila and asks for her parents. He told them that their two sons had been died for the jihad. Her mother's world falls apart. Their sons were everything to her. Laila had taken over all the chores of her mother. In 1989 the last Soviets leave Kabul. A few years later the latest Communist president of Afghanistan Najibullah surrenders himself. There begins in the country a power struggling. Many innocent civilians died trough the battles. Also Giti died in the war. Kabul was an unsafe place and Tariq's parents decide to move to Pakistan. As a farewell Laila and Tariq have sex against all laws. Fariba's mother didn't want to leave Kabul because she wants to see that the company of their sons will won the war. But when Laila almost get killed she finally decide to leave Kabul with their husband and daughter. They never make it out of the house. By departure there fall bombs on their house and Laila's parents get killed. Laila herself is badly injured.
At one day Rasheed came home with a badly injured girl. Believe it or not this the moment were Mariam and Laila first meet each other. They took care of Laila. When Laila finally recovered a man knocked on their door. His name was Abdul Sharif. He told a confessing story that Tariq was death. Laila believed him, later she will find out that it was a lie. A couple of days after the visit of Abdul Sharif, Rasheed gave Laila two options. Marrying him of she has to leave his house and live on the streets. In the meantime she was pregnant from Tariq. So the option was quite easy to make. She chose to marry Rasheed to give her child the best. That same night they had sex. Mariam felt betrayed by Rasheed and was Jealous on Laila. She felt that Laila had stolen her husband. When Laila give birth of their first child, it was a girl. Rasheed wanted a boy, and took his anger on Mariam. He hit her with a belt. Laila stopped him and at that moment the relationship between Mariam and Laila started. The name of the child was Aziza. And the first time Mariam saw her she loved the child as her own. Laila and Mariam start sharing secrets. Together they make a plan to run away to Pakistan, because Rasheed didn't treat both wives well. They didn't made it far and the police brought them home. Rasheed was so angry and beat the two wives and locked them in different rooms without giving them food or water. From 1996 the Taliban had taken over Afghanistan. Laila was pregnant of Rasheed. And she needed a caesarean. She has given live to a boy. They called him Zalmai. Rasheed was so happy and he and Zalmai were close buddy's. In summer 2000 Rasheed's shop burned down. And the money slowly runs out. That's the reason that in April 2001 Aziza had to go to the orphanage. The Orphanage director was Zaman. At one day when Laila came home, Tariq was there. They were so happy to see each other. Laila told him about his daughter. They arranged an agreement to visit her in the orphanage next day. With that promise Tariq left. When Rasheed came home and heard that Tariq went into his house, he went crazy. He begins hitting Laila and when he wants to kill her Mariam kills her husband with a shovel. Mariam recommends Laila to flee with Tariq and the children to Pakistan. She remains behind to take the blame. Mariam were arrested by the Taliban for killing her husband and without trial shot death in a Football stadium full of people.
Part four goes about Tariq, Laila and the children. They left Rasheed's house and moved to Pakistan. Where they receive shelter and work in a hotel. It was 11 September 2001. The world has changed. Two airplanes had crashed into the Twin Towers and the Taliban claimed the terrorist attack. Bush declared war to the Taliban, to make Afghanistan a safer country. In 2002 Laila wanted going back to Kabul. She was homesick and wanted to rebuild the country. When she was on their way back they slept in a hotel and that day Laila visited the birthplace of Mariam. She visited Mullah Faizullah house. Unfortunately he had passed away, but his son Hamza was still alive. He shows her the Kolba and they talked a lot about Mariam. When Laila left, Hamza gave her a box. Jalil gave it to Mullah before he died. It was a box for Mariam. And now Hamza gave it to Laila he thought it remains to her now Mariam is death. When Laila went to the hotel she opened the box. There were three things in it. A video of Pinocchio, an envelope with a letter of regret and money. Laila doesn't understood why there was a video of Pinocchio in it. But it was the movie Mariam wanted to see when she turned 15 years old. The money in the box Laila used to rebuild the orphanage of Zalman. April 2003, Tariq has a new job and helps Zalmai refurbishing the orphanage. Zalmai is now six years old and Aziza ten years old and Laila, she is pregnant of her third child and if it's a girl she is sure that her name will be Mariam.