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The Railway by Hamid Ismailov

16th March 2006

Dear all,
On 4th April there is a reading of Hamid Ismailov's book "the Railway".
Details below and in the attachment.
Best wishes

April 4, 2006, 6.30 pm: wine, music from Central Asian musicians,
readings by Hamid Ismailov & Robert Chandler
Leighton House, 12 Holland Park Road, W14 8LZ (High St. Ken tube)
Free – but RSVP essential: [removed]

Set in Uzbekistan between 1900 and 1980, The Railway introduces to us the
inhabitants of the small town of Gilas on the ancient Silk Route.
Their colourful lives offer a unique and comic picture of a little-known
land populated by outgoing Mullahs, incoming Bolsheviks, and a plethora of
Uzbeks, Russians, Persians, Jews, Koreans, Tartars and Gypsies.

Rich and picaresque, The Railway chronicles the dramatic changes felt
throughout Central Asia in the twentieth century. 'A work of rare beauty –
an utterly readable, compelling book' – Craig Murray. 'A scintillating
novel' – Shusha Guppy.

Hamid Ismailov, regarded as having ‘unacceptably democratic tendencies’ in
Uzbekistan, was forced to flee his homeland. He came to London in 1994 and
is now head of the BBC Central Asia Service. The Railway is his first
novel to be translated into English. Robert Chandler’s Russian Short
Stories from Pushkin to Buida was published in 2005 by Penguin Classics
and his co-translations of Andrey Platonov have won several prizes.

"And the boy shouted, ‘Girl, I love you,’ and this time there wasn’t
anything he was frightened of, because he knew that in the falling
darkness his voice would not carry beyond this ploughed earth, beyond
these Russian olives, beyond this emptiness which was by now a personal
emptiness that he had himself marked and filled, filled so full that now
he wanted to leave it alone, like well-worked dough that has already risen
to the top of the bowl; and he began to walk quickly back along the

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