Hey everyone! I’m super excited to announce a special exchange with my friend Colleen’s blog Prekrasno! This week, I wrote a guest post on her *fantastic* blog about Jamila by Chingiz Aitmatov, his first significant work first published in 1958.
You might remember Colleen as the author of this fantastic post on the Kara Jorgo dance in Kyrgyzstan. Some of my other favorite posts of hers include this one about Kurman Ait, otherwise known as Eid Al-Adha, this one about kymyz, the fermented mare’s milk that is the national drink of Kyrgyzstan, and her series “For When Internet Jok,” in which she gives a roundup of Central Asian articles to read through when the internet goes out. She’s an expert on Central Asia, and is about to go get a Ph.D. from Columbia! Молодец (congratulations/good job!), Colleen! Stay tuned for a guest post from her here next week!
Jamila might best be described as a novelette, since the edition I have is less than 100 pages. But, it’s one of the most beloved pieces of literature in the entire Soviet Union. First published in Russian in 1958, this was the book that put Aitmatov on the map and led to him becoming the most beloved author in Kyrgyzstan and one of the most revered across the USSR.
Jamila (also spelled Jamilia in some translations) is a beautiful book that I’ve actually re-read a few times, and it’s a nice addition to any library or for anyone looking to learn more about everyday village life in the early days of collectivization. Be sure to pick up a copy of the book here and to head over to Prekrasno to read more about the story and to find links to the film in Russian and English from SovietMoviesOnline.