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A story from Uzbekistan

Book: "How Sweet You Are, You Bitter Life!" by Khayriddin Sultonov and translated by Mahmuda Saydumarova in A Collection of Uzbek Short Stories 

Ages: 11+

Relationship to country: This is a short story from a collection of Uzbek short stories translated by Mahmuda Saydumarova

Book in a nutshell: A pretty dark but beautiful story about a mom and a son who had been fighting against Russian soldiers for their land


Warning: this story was pretty dark. My mom can't believe she let me read this. This story takes place in 1876 when Russian soldiers were in Uzbekistan. When the story begins, a mother is saying goodbye to her son because he is about to be punished for fighting against the soldiers. She is sad but she is also very proud of him.

The descriptions in this story are what really amazed me. The story takes place on a very cold day in a village, and the description of the cold is so beautiful that you start to feel cold yourself. I thought the writing was so good that I wanted to quote: "Today also, even the sun that looked like a worn-out coin shone its rays for just a little while and, as if feeling cold, hid itself under thick, gray clouds." All of the descriptions in this story are that good. I have been thinking about that idea of the sun being like an old coin for a couple of days. It is what the sun looks like in winter, far away and cold. I do not want to write any more because the story got very sad. This one is probably better for grown ups in my opinion.