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Jamilia by Chinghiz Aitmatov

Jamilia (1958)

by Chinghiz Aitmatov

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4482123,330 (3.92)63
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English (16)  German (3)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Dshamilja (I was reading a German edition, the usual English title is Jamilia) is a novella of forbidden love set in the glorious landscape of northern Kyrgyzstan. Told from the point of view of the heroine's younger brother-in-law, who is the only male left in the family because everyone else is off fighting the Second World War. Therefore, Jamilia ends up doing work that women would normally never dream of doing, such as hauling grain to the train depot so it can be sent to feed soldiers on the front. Her mother-in-law does not want her going alone so she travels with the narrator and a crippled soldier returned from the fighting. Over the course of their journey the narrator watches something beautiful unfold, even as he also fears it and knows that as the eldest male in the family he should put a stop to it. But even the most amazing journeys come to an end, and rumors are flying that Jamilia's husband will return home soon. In a world in which women have little power and family is everything, what choices does she have.

A very atmospheric work featuring a part of the world little-known outside its immediate neighborhood. Recommended for those who like good novellas or subtle romances. ( )
  inge87 | Feb 28, 2016 |
This was a favorite of mine when I first read it. It comes with high praise: Louis Aragon called this short novel the most beautiful love story in the world. I was a bit afraid it would not stand the test of time. But it did.
In just over a hundred pages he brings to life a time and place which is very foreign to us: Kirgizstan during the Second World War. The men are off fighting, the women are doing the work in the fields, charged with growing the food to sustain the fighters. The Kirgiz society has just moved from a nomadic existence to the settled life in the soviet kolkhozes. Said, a young boy himself, but the man in charge of the household, tells us about these days. Nested like a sketchy painting inside his recounting, is the love story of Jamilia and Danijar. With just a few half understood glimpses powerful feelings are evoked. The ending is bittersweet and left me with a mixture of satisfaction and yearning, much as it did Said.
( )
  sushicat | Jan 14, 2016 |
Jamilia is a quick read. At around twenty-thousand words, the novella reads more like a short story with a little more build up. There's not much time for character development or setting, but that doesn't hinder the story in the slightest. Jamilia is a great piece of observation. It wonderfully captures the perspective of a child whose understanding of the world is rather juvenile. It also effectively shows a budding romance from an outside perspective. There's nothing thrilling or magical here, but it is a well-told story that introduces the reader to the people and traditions of Kyrgyzstan. ( )
  chrisblocker | Jul 29, 2014 |
A Russian romance among the peasant labourers in WW11. The returned soldier Daniyar wins Jamilia's heart with his beautiful singing and she leaves her home and her husband. I'd love to have heard his singing, but the prose felt a little flat to me. Has a folk tale feel about it. ( )
  RobinDawson | Nov 18, 2013 |
A small gem ( )
  PaulDalton | Sep 28, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chinghiz Aitmatovprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aragon, LouisPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drohla, GiselaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ebeling-van Delft, R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fleckhaus, WillyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herboth, HartmutTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lukner, R. F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riordan, JamesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weijers, MonseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Here I stand before this little painting in its simple frame.
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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 in the Caucasus. She is accompanied by Seit, her young brother-in-law, and Damiyar, a sullen newcomer to the village who has been wounded on the battlefield.… (more)

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