It’s refreshing to read about a different part of the world that I don’t really have much idea about — Kyrgyzstan. Last year, I’ve met a Kyrgyz lady in Georgia. We get to spend a few hours together and I remember she was very cheerful and loved to talk about her country. The only thing I know about Kyrgyzstan before I met her is that it is a mountainous country in Central Asia.
Jamilia is a novella that took place during World War II. Narrated by Seit, the only son left in the family and not sent off to war. Jamilia is Seit’s sister-in-law. One day, Daniyar arrived in their village and soon enough opened their eyes to the beauty around them with his songs.
True enough, nothing much happened in the story but it isn’t much about what happened but how it happened. It is how souls speak to one another. Aitmatov was able to write the internal struggles of Jamilia through Seit’s observations. This is not just a love story about two people, it is also love for country, for culture, for music and life itself.
This book is beauty in simplicity. Read it as it is to enjoy.
“I was astounded at the passion and fire of the melody itself. I could not describe it then, nor can I now. Was it just his voice or something more tangible emerging from his very soul that could arouse such emotion in another person, and bring one’s innermost thoughts to life?”
“I was stunned. The steppe seemed to burst into bloom, heaving a sigh and drawing aside the veil of darkness, and I saw two lovers in its vast expanse.”
“May Daniyar’s song resound and may Jamilia’s heart beat with every stroke of my brush.”
“His singing made me want to fall to the ground and kiss it, as a son to a mother, grateful that someone could love it so keenly. For the first time in my life something new awoke within me, something irresistible: I still cannot explain it. It was a need to express myself, yes, to express myself, not only to see and sense the world, but to bring to others my vision, my thoughts and sensations, to describe the beauty of the earth as inspiringly as Daniyar could sing. I caught my breath for fear and joy of the unknown.”
“No, no, no. He never loved me, he even sent his regards as a postscript. I don’t need his tardy love and I don’t care what people say. My lonely darling, I’ll never let you go. I’ve loved you for so long. Even when I did not know I loved you, I was waiting for you, and you came as if you knew I was waiting.”
Rating: 4/5 stars