Character List and Analysis Minor Characters


Mariam's father and a wealthy businessman, Jalil abandons Mariam, his only illegitimate child, at his wives' wishes. Years later, he finds Mariam to express his deep regret for her childhood and his love for her.


Mariam's mother who, after having lost her teenage sweetheart and becoming a mother out of wedlock, is a strict, bitter woman who eventually commits suicide.


Laila's father, Hakim is bookish and sensitive and does his best to give Laila an education, stressing to her that women should have every opportunity that men have.


Utterly destroyed by her sons' decision to go to war and then both of their deaths as a result of it, Fariba is a distant mother to Laila — although once she was an exuberant presence in her community.


Aziza is Laila and Tariq's kind, mature, and thoughtful daughter who is forced by Rasheed to live in an orphanage.


Zalmai is Rasheed and Laila's son who, although somewhat spoiled by Rasheed, is still a kind boy.

Mullah Faizullah

Mariam's Koran when she was a child. He was a kind and loving presence in Mariam's difficult childhood.

Abdul Sharif

A man hired by Rasheed to lie to Laila and tell her Tariq had died so that Rasheed could convince Laila to marry him.

Pop Quiz!

During her childhood, who regularly brings food and supplies to the home of Mariam and her mother?

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