I had two powerful emotional reactions to the book, both of which sound pretty obvious when stated verbally. First, as I mentioned here
, being a woman in a Tablian society sucks. Second, war sucks. And both of those reactions have a lot more visceral impact when you see individuals (even fictional) suffering, instead of considering things abstractly.
For example, Laila's mother Fariba supported the war against the Soviets and the Communist Afghan government. However, that war, along with the subsequent Afghan civil war, ended up kill her two sons, her husband, and her. While that's an extreme case, people in a war zone suffer enormously.
The horrors of war are clear to me from my readings and lead to me opposing most wars. However, many people don't seem to appreciate the negative consequences of war, both in terms of the harm it causes and that the subsequent post-war situation is often worse than things were beforehand. During the debate over whether the US should invade Iraq, the awful nature of warfare rarely came up, to my aggravation.