Jamilia by Chingiz Aitmatov has the unusual distinction of being the first book I have ever read set in Kyrgyzstan or by a Kyrgyzstani author. I'd love to be more "globally read" the vast majority of the novels I read and their authors being either UK or USA based, so reading Jamilia feels like an expansion of my literary horizons.
Jamilia is a tender, nostalgic, evocative tale about a painter named Sait, reflecting upon his youth, when the country was at war, and his relationship with his beguiling sister in law Jamilia and the time he spent as a boy working alongside her.
It's a lovely little story, charming and engaging, but little is the operative word, at only 94 pages long, this doesn't even feel like a novella, but more like a short story.
Charming as it is, I think that the cover quote by Louis Aragon that Jamilia is "the most beautiful love story in the world" must rank highly among the plethora of over exaggerated cover quotes in publishing. The best adjective for it is simply "nice"
Additionally, I paid £7.99 for this book, £5.99 on Amazon, sweet as it is, it simply isn't worth paying £6 for, not in the least. 7/10