Chinghiz Aitmatov: Джамиля (Jamila; Jamilia)


The latest addition to my website is Chinghiz Aitmatov‘s Джамиля (Jamila; Jamilia). This is Aitmatov’s first published work and in reality not much more than a longish story. It is set in World War II when most of the adult men are away from the village, leaving the older men, the boys, the women and the injured men. The narrator, Seit, is a fifteen-year old boy and Jamilia is his sister-in-law, his half-brother’s wife. The pair have to drive grain to the central granary and are accompanied by Daniyar, an orphan who had been born in the village but had left, had served in the army and, when injured, had returned to the village of his birth. He is initially taciturn but, after hurting himself carrying a heavy bag of grain and then singing in a beautiful voice, he and Jamilia become much closer and are clearly falling in love. Seti is initially concerned but then supports the couple. It is a charming tale, well told by Aitmatov, and helped to make his name.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Gaukhara

    Sorry, where can I read Jamila in English? Can’t find it here(

    1. tmn

      It is in print in English (as Jamilia), published by Telegram Books. In Russia, where it is called Джамиля, you can get it on-line, e.g. here

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