Nana explains to Mariam that she refused to live in Herat, where the neighbors would whisper about her. Instead, she moved to a clearing on the edge of the village of Gul Daman on the outskirts of Herat.
There is a slight ambiguity here, between Jalil sending Nana off because of his shame, and Nana choosing to live in isolation because of her pride.
Nana had been engaged once before, to a parakeet seller, but a week before the wedding, a jinn entered Nana’s body (that is, Nana is prone to seizures). The family called off the wedding.
Nana is no stranger to suffering, though here we gain a sense that hope was once available to her.
Nana says that when she gave birth to Mariam, in spring 1959, Jalil hadn’t bothered to call a doctor. She describes her pain to Mariam, who apologizes. However, when Mariam is a little older, she begins to believe Jalil, who says he did send Nana to a hospital in Heart. Nana fumes at this version of the story, countering that Jalil was away horseback riding and didn’t care. Nana and Jalil also each claim to have chosen Mariam’s name, though Mariam believes Jalil.
Mariam constantly has to assess the truthfulness of the different versions of the stories she hears, versions which differ depending on the kind of person that Jalil is. The fact that she always takes his side reflects her unceasing loyalty to her father and her inability to see past pure love to the messier social relations behind it.