Chingiz Aitmatov was the best-known Kyrgyz writer in the Soviet era, born in There is information about his biography and career in Katerina Clark's introduction to our edition of The Day Lasts More than a Hundred Years , so I won't add more here - but let me know if you have questions. Do note that the name Chingiz is more or less the same name as Genghis known now as Ghenghis Khan , who founded the Mongol Empire and thus was the person behind the invasions of Rus' about which we have read. As you will remember, Rusians at the time did not know that history - but by the 20th century Ghengis was famous everywhere. Here we have a story that is only about Kazakhs, though with references to Kyrgiz culture brought in by the figure of Daniyar. How does the result compare to the multiethnic Dzhan whom we saw in Platonov's "Soul"?
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Return to Book Page. Preview — Jamilia by Chingiz Aitmatov. Jamilia by Chingiz Aitmatov ,. James Riordan Translator. The story recounts the love between his new sister-in-law Jamilia and a local crippled young man, Daniyar, while Jamilia's husband, Sadyk, is away at the front during World War II. Based on clues in the story, it takes place in northwestern Kyrg "Jamilia" is told from the point of view of a fictional Kyrgyz artist, Seit, who tells the story by looking back on his childhood.
Based on clues in the story, it takes place in northwestern Kyrgyzstan, presumably Talas Province. The story is backdropped against the collective farming culture which was early in its peak in that period. His work appeared in over one hundred languages, and received numerous awards, including the Lenin Prize. Translated by James Riordan. Get A Copy. Paperback , 96 pages.
Published July by Telegram Books first published More Details Original Title. Kyrgyzstan U. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Jamilia , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters.
Sort order. Start your review of Jamilia. Apr 28, Nataliya rated it really liked it Shelves: reads. Seeing it as just a tale of two lovers is akin to reducing 'Anna Karenina' to nothing more but Anna and Vronsky's affair. Love in this novella is far more than simply romance. It has a multitude of faces; it encompasses everything - from tender attraction between two young people to kind familial affection to deeply ingrained love for the quiet beauty of your homeland to the love of art and longing for self-expression.
In , a small Kyrgyz village on the shores of a turbulent river in the shadow of the mountain range was teetering on the edge between old tribal life and the new expectations of Soviet living. Tribal laws still held strong, but the former nomads were now living in the villages and working in kolkhoz; patriarchal customs were observed, but since young men were away at the war the work fell on the shoulders of children and women.
Sait is a fifteen-year-old boy teetering on the brink of adulthood, the only son of his family not at war, a boy doing adult work, a boy who never dared to open his heart to the passion of art that lay deep within it - what kind of a craft is painting pictures anyway?
In the naive remnants of his innocence, he feels fiercely protective of Jamilia, his sister-in-law, whose husband is away at war. It is through Sait's naive, mesmerized and often confused but yet astute eyes that we get to experience this short lyrical story of love, beauty and growing up. It is through Sait's eyes that we see the development of that quiet, subdued love that grows between Jamilia, his sister-in-law, a young boisterous woman, the lively heart of every gathering, and Daniyar, a wounded soldier, quiet and introspective and therefore easily dismissed by those accustomed to domineering and outwardly assertive dzhigits.
Sweet it may be, but there's nothing particularly new in this touching love that the old weary world has not seen before - its slow development from sometimes thoughtless teasing, its growth from eventual admiration, respect and understanding that sings to the souls of those involved. He was in love, I felt, not just with another person; it was a different, enormous love - love for life, for the land.
Yes, he saved this love in himself, in his music; he lived for this love. An indifferent person could not have sung like that, no matter how good of a voice he had.
It is through Jamilia and Daniyar's experiences that he opens his eyes to the overwhelming beauty of the land itself that surrounds him - the nature and the history, both ancient and present. It is through them that his heart opens to encompass the love for his land with which all the pages of this too-short of a book are saturated. The magic of Daniyar's voice - inspired by his feeling for Jamilia - uncovers the beauty of the world and allows it to deeply touch Sait's soul.
Where did he learn all this, who told him all this? I understood that such love for his land could have come only from someone who longed for it with his whole heart of many years; who earned this love through suffering. As he was singing, I could see him - a small boy, wandering along the roads in the steppe. Was it then that the songs about homeland were born in his soul? Or was it when he was marching the fiery miles of the war?
Listening to Daniyar, I wanted to fall on the ground and firmly, like a son, embrace it - if only because it could inspire such love in a person. For the first time I felt inside me the awakening of something new, something I couldn't even name yet, but it was something irresistible, the need to express myself, yes, express - not just see and feel the world myself, but to bring my vision, my thoughts and feelings to others; to tell people about the beauty of our land with as much inspiration as Daniyar had.
I was trembling with unexplained fear and happiness for something unknown. But back then I haven't yet realized that I needed to take up a paintbrush. It is through them that the boy - or perhaps, now a young man - discovers his own passion, until then deeply buried under the weight of duty, denial and tradition.
Daniyar's songs open his eyes to the beauty around them. Jamilia's determination and courage allow his to see the possibilities before him.
It had almost no words; without words it was able to reveal the great soul of humanity. I haven't heard a song like that before or since: it was unlike either Kazakh or Kyrgyz songs, and yet it had both of them in it. Daniyar's music absorbed the best melodies of the two brotherly peoples, and wove them together into one unforgettable song. It was the song of the steppes and the mountains, at times brightly soaring like the Kyrgyz mountains, at times vastly rolling, like the Kazakh steppes.
It beckons me to set out on a journey - and so I need to get ready. I will walk through the steppe to my village, I will find new colors there. Let Daniyar's melody resonate in every one of my brush strokes!
Let Jamilia's heart beat in every one of my brush strokes! View all 6 comments. Oct 08, Viv JM rated it it was amazing Shelves: read-in , in-translation , favourites , author-male , rt-challenge-oct I bought this little book in a charity shop on a total whim, purely because I didn't think I had ever read an author from Kyrgyzstan.
I am so glad I did, because it was absolutely wonderful. The narrator of the tale is teenager Seit, and Jamilia is his sister-in-law. The story tells of the love between Jamilia and a shy newcomer to the village, Daniyar.
I think because it is told by the youngster, there is a certain innocence in the telling, which is very effective. My copy of this book has a qu I bought this little book in a charity shop on a total whim, purely because I didn't think I had ever read an author from Kyrgyzstan. My copy of this book has a quote on the front cover to the effect that this is "the most beautiful love story in the world".
What that doesn't convey is that this is not just a love story in the sense of a romance, but also about a deeper love - a love for the land, for tradition, for music, for art, for life itself. Take, for example, this description of Seit hearing Daniyar sing for the first time: He was a man deeply in love.
I felt it was not simply a love for another person, it was somehow an uncommon, expansive love for life and earth. He had kept his love within himself, in his music, in his very being. A person with no feeling, no matter how good his voice, could never have sung like that. There is such a wonderful sense of time and place here too - I felt totally immersed in rural life on the steppe.
I loved the fact, too, that the romantic heroine Jamilia is a strong, capable and assertive woman. This book is an absolute gem.
I loved it - can you tell?! View all 3 comments. The novel is told from the point of view of a fictional Kyrgyz artist, Seit, who tells the story by looking back on his childhood. The story recounts the love between his new sister-in-law Jamilya and a local crippled young man, Daniyar, while Jamilya's husband, Sadyk, is "away at the front" as a Soviet soldier during World War II.
Feb 21, Jibran rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction , russian. A lyrical, dreamy, soft-hued portrait of a young rural girl and her desire for life and love from one of the lesser-known masters of Russian prose from the periphery of the erstwhile Soviet Union. View all 7 comments.
Chingiz Aitmatov's "Jamilia"
The novel is told from the point of view of a fictional Kyrgyz artist, Seit, who tells the story by looking back on his childhood. The story recounts the love between his new sister-in-law Jamilya and a local crippled young man, Daniyar, while Jamilya's husband, Sadyk, is "away at the front" as a Soviet soldier during World War II. Based on clues in the story, it takes place in northwestern Kyrgyzstan , presumably Talas Province. The story is backdropped against the collective farming culture which was early in its peak in that period.
Called "the most beautiful love story in the world" by the French writer Louis Aragon , the short story "Jamila" was the first celebrated foray into the Russian literary world by the Kirghiz author Chingiz Aitmatov. This was not Aitmatov's first published work. Earlier stories had appeared in local Kirghiz periodicals, but "Jamila" was the first sensation in what would prove to be a succession of works from Aitmatov that skirted the limits of the permissible in the regulated world of Soviet literature. The story begins with the musings of an artist over his favorite picture, that of a couple trekking across the Kirghiz steppe: "If the travelers were to take another step they would seemingly walk off the canvas" "Jamila" is the story of the eponymous protagonist and her lover, the wounded soldier Daniyar, who are the travelers in the picture. The story takes place during World War II and is set, as are almost all of Aitmatov's works, in the author's native Kirghizstan. The story is related through the eyes of a year-old narrator, Seit, stepbrother-in-law to Jamila.