I admit when I started reading Broken April by Ismail Kadare I pictured men dressed as Cossack’s. It was quite a charming picture so I googled what is the traditional costume of Albania, I was close but not quite there.
I know that this book is to take place between the two world wars and it was hard to keep that in mind when reading this book. It had more of a medieval feel to it. Like most of the characters belonged to another world.
Trying to get the words to describe this book it tough. It is all about The Code or as it is called in Albania the Kanun. It rules every part of the mountaineers life. From planting, to weddings, to training animals, to death, and to blood feuds. That is what this book it all about a blood feud. One that Gjorg does not want to participate in but the Code demands it, and what the Code wants it gets.
It is also about a modern couple on their honeymoon. Diana is struck by something about Gjorg, and for the rest of the honeymoon becomes more withdrawn when she does not see him again.
This book is what is called a “dark” book, it is not scary, but it is not a happy book. It was beautifully written and one that is going to stay with me for a long time. I did in my notes as a question and that is, “I wonder if the Kanun is still being used today?”
“But there was not penalty for death.”
“It is at once terrible, absurd, and fatal, like all the really important things.”