Beth Dean's Reviews > Jamilia

Jamilia by Chingiz Aitmatov
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's review
Jul 28, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: art, family, romance, thought-provokers, war, kyrgyzstan-setting, historical, kyrgyzstani-author
Read on July 28, 2012

Jamilia is truly a beautiful book. There cannot be any doubt about that. Aitmatov's description is like nothing I've read before, he makes me feel like I could understand what an artist sees when they see a canvas. His narrative gifts stretch that far, which sounds as if I'm overselling him but trust me I'm not.

The setting of this novel, which was of course well crafted, is intriguing to anyone who hasn't come across a book so focused on agricultural village life. I am one such person and found it strangely fascinating to read about a village so run by tradition that no one breaks this certainty of their future.

But that all changes when Daniyar arrives. The typical wounded soldier who, rather moodily, never talks about what happened in the war but then again rarely talks so there's not a whole lot of change. He's a multi-layered cipher which you just want to unravel as soon as possible. His hidden secrets and feelings are so cleverly laid bare and yet concealed until Aitmatov lifts the cover on the man behind the poverty sticken man.

So the love story is cast and Jamilia herself was.......well, I'm not entirely sure I liked her. I don't think really you're entirely meant to, merely respect her as you do a thoroughbred. Her spirit and complete comittal to her tasks in hand which she decides is to be respected. She isn't really portrayed as a person for you to like mostly due to her complete independence and willfulness. Then again I suppose it was necessary to have a driving force between the two otherwise they would never elope!

I can't bring myself to say that it was the greatest love story of all time because as a romantic I need a neat happy ending. However this book is so beautiful it needs to be found by more people so they can fully appreciate Aitmatov's gift for bringing a country to life.
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07/28/2012 page 37
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