Jamila (novel)

Jamila (novel)-Chingiz Aitmatov

The story takes place in a small collective village, Kurkureu,during World War II. Most male inhabitants have been enlisted to the war against Germany,and only the elders, youths, disabled, children and women have stayed behind. Without the men, they are forced to toil hard for their existence. Central to the story are two neighboring families whom destiny has drawn into close familial ties. Jamila’s husband is dead. Following an ancient tribal custom known as Hadath, which forbids leaving a widow on her own, Jamila is espoused to the neighbor’s son. This marriage unites the households of the two families into a common domestic unit. Jamila is a peppy, vivacious, beautiful young woman. Her mother in law fears lest strange men might tempt her. As the village is abundant with women and with only a few men, the latter have exploited their relative advantage to tempt the women who have not seen their husbands for nearly three years. Jamila, however, keeps her distance from the men. One day Daniyar, a reticent soldier who has been wounded in his leg,arrives at the village. The village youths, including Jamila, tend to ridicule him. One day, however, Jamila’s attitude toward Daniyar changes dramatically, due to an uncommon, heart-stirring talent that she discovers in him. Where will this attraction lead to? Will the great love that ensues materialize itself within the puritan Kirghizian community of World War II? The story is narrated as seen by a fifteen year old boy, who is also enamored with Jamila.

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