Jamila (Russian: Джамиля [dʐamʲiˈlʲa]) is the first major novel by Chingiz Aytmatov, published originally in Russian in 1958. The novel is told from the point of view of a fictional Kyrgyz artist, Seit, who tells the story by looking back on his childhood. The story recounts the love between his new sister-in-law Jamilya and a local crippled young man, Daniyar, while Jamilya's husband, Sadyk, is "away at the front" (as a Soviet soldier during World War II).
Based on clues in the story, it takes place in northwestern Kyrgyzstan, presumably Talas Province. The story is backdropped against the collective farming culture which was early in its peak in that period.
Louis Aragon lauded the novelette as the "world's most beautiful love story". Aytmatov has received criticism for this work due to his depiction of Jamilya's "unpatriotic" unfaithfulness to her husband, a soldier.
Versions of the story available online
- Jamila — A translation of Jamilia into English by Fainna Glagoleva
- Джамиля — Download of the 1968 movie production of the story
English translation of the story available in print
Jamilia, translated James Riordan, Telegram Books, London, 2012
- Erich Follath and Christian Neef, "Kyrgyzstan Has Become an Ungovernable Country", SPIEGEL ONLINE International, 8 October 2010.
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