Friday, 18 March 2011

Aitmatov, Chinghiz "Jamila"




Aitmatov, Chinghiz "Jamila" (Russian: Джамиля - Jamilia) - 1958

This is a very interesting story by a writer from a country we don't know that well, he is from Kyrgyzstan but writes in Russian, as far as I know. I read the translation ;-)

The novel describes village life in Central Asia and the disappearance of Central Asian cultural traditions in the USSR. The main character is a painter who had painted a picture at the time that his sister-in-law, Jamila, and Daniyar, a village outsider, had fallen in love and left the village. He remembers and describes the summer of 1943, when he lost both his friends.

This is one of the best love stories I ever read. It's not a very long one and I read it quite a while ago, yet, I still recall the feeling the story invokes. Great novel!

From the back cover: "Jamilia's husband is off fighting at the front. She spends her days hauling sacks of grain from the threshing floor to the train station in their small village, accompanied by Seit, her young brother-in-law, and Daniyar, a sullen newcomer to the village who has been wounded on the battlefield.

Seit observes the beautiful, spirited Jamilia spurn men's advances, and wince at the dispassionate letters she receives from her husband. Meanwhile, undeterred by Jamilia's teasing, Daniyar sings as they return each evening from the fields. Soon Jamilia is in love, and she and Daniyar elope just as her husband returns.

Translated by James Riordan."

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