Sunday, December 22, 2019

Review: Jamila

Jamila Jamila by Chingiz Aitmatov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chingiz Aitmatov is a Kyrgyz author who wrote in Kyrgyz and Russian. Although Jamila was published in Russian, I'm going to count it for Kyrgyzstan for my ongoing Around the World reading challenge.

Set during the long period of collectivism as a Soviet state, in the village where Jamila lives with her in-laws (her husband is a soldier on the front but is delayed in his return because of an injury, and in fact most of the able-bodied men are absent for the same reason.) Her brother in law, too young to fight, is the narrator of the story. He and Jamila harvest wheat together (to be sent to the front) and he is the witness to her interactions with others. He is also coming into his own artistic sensibilities. .
As in most books I have read set in this area, the landscape of the steppes require a lot of hard work, isolation, and horses are central to daily life. Jamila's father was a known horse trainer so she has skills in that area as well.

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