• In Chapter 1, Mariam is introduced as an illegitimate child, born to Nana after an affair with Jalil, in whose house she worked as a maid.
• Mariam's mother is always cursing and complaining, but her father, Jalil, is an easy-going man who tells her about the places he has seen, and the famous poets.
• Jalil has three wives, nine legitimate children, and owns a cinema.
• In Chapter 2, Nana tells Mariam that she (Nana) was a weed to Jalil; she says that she refused to live in Herat where Jalil lived, and that he refused to summon a doctor when Mariam was born.
• In Chapter 3, Mariam recalls Mullah Faizullah teaching her to read the Koran; she asks him if she can go to a real school, and Mullah Faizullah asks Nana, but Nana refuses to let her go.
• In Chapter 4, unlike her mother, Mariam says that she loves...
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