Does Nana love her daughter?
As readers, our first encounter with Nana leaves an impression of cruelty. Nana blames Mariam for their mutual suffering, and has no qualms about letting her know it. Much of the harshness that Nana expresses, however, is directed at the world, especially at Jalil. She has had a difficult life, and seeks to protect Mariam from the same misfortunes, most of which were the direct result of treacherous or untrustworthy men. Nana is manipulative, overbearing, and sometimes flat-out cruel, but she gives all she has to Mariam: her knowledge and experience. Ultimately, Mariam comes to believe that Nana loved her, in a hard way.
At first, whose...
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