James Mozur traces the development of Chingiz Aitmatov's fiction from the early 1950s through the mid-1970s, including Farewell, Gul'sary!, The White Ship, The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years, and The Place of the Skull. He discusses each major work against the political and cultural background in which it was created and thereby widens our understanding of post-Stalinist Soviet literature.
Chingiz Aitmatov was born in Kirghizstan in 1928 and published his first stories in the 1950s in both Russian and Kirghiz. He soon took his place as spokesman for the progressive wing of official Soviet Russian literature, striving for greater openness in Soviet letters and for a new approach toward diverse nationalities. Unlike many other writers, Aitmatov continued to flourish in the cultural tumult following the collapse of the communist state, being appointed to government posts by Gorbachev and becoming Soviet ambassador to Luxembourg in 1991.