Arab World
Archaeology and Geology
Fiction and Poetry
Independent Minds
Natural History
Fiction and Poetry

130 pages, paperback
125x195mm, Portrait

ISBN-10: 1905299664
ISBN-13: 9781905299669
Ballad of Forgotten Years
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.

For the North European reader, 'Ballad of Forgotten Years' has echoes of Beowulf and the feuds between Frisian and Dane. For the intellectually curious and culturally adventurous, indeed for any with an interest in the antiquity of the vast nomadic steppeland from the Caucasus to the Tien Shan mountains and the Gobi, this little work is a rare gem.

Composed originally by Abish Kekilbayev in his native Kazakh, it was rendered into Russian by the author himself, who is celebrated as a novelist and playwright in his homeland. He fills the honorary post of Kazakh State Secretary. 'The Ballad of Forgotten Years' is translated into English by Richard Samuel, CMG.
Abish Kekilbayev - Abish Kekilbayev was born in Mangistau in 1939. He graduated from Kazakh State University where he went on to teach Kazakh Language and Literature. His first book of poems 'Gold Rays' was published in 1962. In addition to 'Ballad of Forgotten Years' Abish Kekilbayev is author of numerous works of poetry, prose and literary criticism, and of travel essays. His distinguished career in journalism saw him rise to editor of various Kazakh newspapers and to become editor-in-chief of the 'Kazakhfilm' motion picture studio. He currently holds the position of Senator in Kazakhstan's Parliament and is a member of the Committee for International Relations, Defense and Security