Ballad of Forgotten Years

Abish Kekilbayev
Here is a novella of ancient times, of savage retribution — of torture and hostage-taking — between the feuding Kazakhs and Turkmen. It tells of crude chieftainly honour and vengeance. Its material is drawn from the oral tradition and folk memory of today’s Kazakhs, whose nomadic way of life was sacrificed to Communism generations ago. It is a product of meticulous research. The single redemptive theme is that of music, specifically the lute in the hands of a young Turkman heir to the chieftaincy, Daulet, who strives to end the vendetta by the beauty of his art. The consequences of Daulet’s endeavour and sublime gift are gruesome. Yet in the end this is a story with a most powerful moral.



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