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Jamilia by Tschingis Aitmatow

Jamilia (1957)

by Tschingis Aitmatow

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3861927,829 (3.93)43
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English (14)  German (3)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
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 |

Jamilia is more a novella than a novel. It appears to be a love story set against a backdrop of war, with multiple and conflicting loyalties and alliances, but is also an allegory about fighting for and longing for one's homeland. An enjoyable if brief novel that depicts a pastoral Kyrgyz village of more than half a century ago. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |

This was a short book, at just 96 pages. An excellent translation from Kyrgyz, full of feeling and wonderful descriptions of the countryside of Kyrgyzstan.

Set during WWII, the men of the villages are all off fighting at the front while the day to day running of the farms is left to women, youngsters and the injured. Grain must be transported over many miles to collection points from whence it is delivered to the fighting soldiers. Seit, the narrator, his sister-in-law, Jamila and Daniyar, an injured soldier are responsible for making the daily trecks to the collection depot from their village.
Gradually we get to know the the characters and watch their interactions during these long journeys.

The book is described as a love story but it is also a taste of life in a remote part of the world, at a particular time in history.
Unfortunately my copy pretty much told the story on the back cover, so there were no surprises, but it was still an interesting read, atmospheric and spare. ( )
1 vote DubaiReader | Dec 28, 2011 |
Jamilia is a stunningly beautiful novella whose only flaw is being so short that we must all too soon leave it behind.

The story takes place on a collective farm in the author's native Kyrgyzstan, then a part of the USSR, during the Second World War. All of the able-bodied men are away at the front, leaving to the women, children, aged and disabled the arduous job of bringing in the annual harvest of grain so essential to the nation's survival. The narrator of the story is a teenage boy, Seit, a budding young artist who has temporarily given up his studies to take over as the man of the family.

Seit has a crush on his slightly older sister-in-law, Jamilia, whose soldier husband, at last report, was recuperating in a distant hospital from unknown causes. Jamilia is a vivacious and assertive young woman, totally unlike any that Seit has known. Seit becomes both her defender and admirer, until passion takes matters in a direction that neither of them can predict or control.

True to his artistic inclinations, the narrator's descriptions of the steppes and valleys of Kyrgyzstan are sumptuous and enticing. There are only a few hints about the customs and characteristics of the Kirghiz people. Nor is there much said about collective farming or the Soviet system. The focus is on the people and the land, making Jamilia a story of timeless appeal. ( )
3 vote StevenTX | Sep 16, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tschingis Aitmatowprimary 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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