Beautiful Oblivion eD Albanian writer Arshi Pipa may have tried to incite trouble over Chronicle in Stone for him from his place ofxile in North America Pipa according to Kadar may have tried to persuade Enver Hoxha that this book about Gjirokaster contained coded messages detrimental to the Albanian Communist government and also to Hoxha himselfAnd Pipa must have known the novel well because he was the first to translate it into English Indeed the Day Zero Day Zero Duology edition that I have just read Canongate 2011 is a translation based on Pipa s It has beendited by David Bellos who has added material that Kadar added some time after first publishing it Bellos has also written an interesting Afterword that follows the novel Following this there is his translation of an interview between Kadar and St phanie Courtois in which the reader can learn much about the struggles of artists and writers in particular living under a repressive regimeThere is much to recommend this unusually constructed fictional history of an ancient city during times of war It is an interesting Je sais que vous mentez ! L'art de dtecter les menteurs et les manipulateurs enjoyable at times humorous novel or fictionalised memoir maybe I havenjoyed reading it and What Lovers Do encourageveryone to S'initier la programmation et l'orient objet: Avec des exemples en C, C, C experience it Get the Canongatedition if you can the additional material that it contains is well worth reading REVISED REVIEW I was tired last nightI loved this book Why Well what I loved most was the writing style I scarcely realized I was learning about the La légende Kingdom Hearts III : Partie 1 : création events occurring in Albania 1941 43 The book description here at GR is practically nonexistent so I willxplain a bit Although fictionthis book is in fact about the author s own Synthse quilibrage nergtique : Annexe de l'ouvrage Connais-toi toi-mme, la libration de l'tre. Avec 2 dpliants et 1 carnet experiences during the Second World War when he was a child growing up in Gjirokast r Albania This is an ancient city near the Albanian Greek border In 1939 Mussolini occupied Albania but thereafter control switched several times between the Italians and the Greeks Finally near thend of the war and until the summer of 1944 the Germans occupied Albania The book does not continue through to the war s The Edge of Nowhere end Gjirokast r wasxtensively bombed There were also fighting going on between the three dominant resistance movements Isa Toska s men representing the Legaliteti backing the Kaamelott, Tome 9 : Les Renforts Malfiques exiled King Zog the Ballists and finally the Partisans who were Communists This civil war led finally to the Communist takeover by Envor Hoxha He too was from Gjirokast r The city is made of stone houses topped with slate rooves When you leave your front door you are at thedge of your neighbor s roof the slope is steep This gray city has a strong presence in the novel Trees and foliage lawns and bushes are not what you find here Such a world is far away only imagined at the markets where the peasants bring in their produce The city has arisen from the The Edge of Nowhere earlier Turkish landowning people It is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site In the book the city itself has an identity This is the setting for the young boy sxperiences Violent times to say the least Culturally the city has a Muslim Turkish heritage This contrasts against the GreekChristianpeasant culture All of this is woven into the story Different cultures strange beliefs bizarre people and shocking vents they are all part of this novel At the center is a young boy trying to understand it all One might think that such a time and place would not be the setting for a book filled with humor This book IS filled with humor and irony The boy is so imaginative the words and thoughts will delight you Sometimes you laugh at the kids lack of understanding their attempts to understand an adult world that logically cannot be understood Words and vents are misunderstood and we who read can chuckle at the search for knowledge and the irony of the crazy world that La Vague engulfs the city Diverse themes from magic to girls to war to Shakespeare to sexual deviants are all present The author plays with wordsAnd yet this is about war and when the tone suddenly switches you are struck by the huge contrast Only by first laughing do you come to feel totally devastated when things go wrong All of a sudden I realized how invested I had become in these people There is a pronunciation guide and anxemplary introduction written by David Bellos I read the introduction after finishing the book I advise doing this Often I dislike introductions I hate it when they tell you how to interpret lines or tell us what we should "be thinkingfeeling This introduction does not do that It adds historical fact so "thinkingfeeling This introduction does not do that It adds historical fact so better understand the story itself It tells of how Kadare rewrote this story repetitively It El Gaucho Martín FierroLa vuelta de Martín Fierro explains what version we have in our hands It speaks of the translator Arshi Pipa Don t skip the introduction It is very interesting but first read the novel and let yourself be carried away by the play on words and imagination I absolutely adored the literary style I wasmotionally captivated by these characters Perhaps as the introduction points out there is Foufoune cosmique - Petit guide pratique vers une sexualité sacrée, consciente et épanouie even said between the lines but first just sit back andnjoy the story Remember it is fiction Don t demand that it fulfills the criteria of logical sense just Il était une fois les Expos - Lintégrale enjoy it Well that is what I think I would not consider giving this book anything but five stars I loved it Every bit of it It drew a picture of a difficult time and place First it was very amusing and then it socked me in the stomachHere follows just onexample of *the humor found in this book The last Italians left during the *humor found in this book The last Italians left during the week of November four days after the The Edge of Nowhere evacuation of the aerodrome For forty hours there was no government in the city The Greeks arrived at two in the morning They stayed for about seventy hours and hardly anyoneven saw them The shutters stayed closed No one went out in the street The Greeks themselves seemed to move only at night At ten in the morning on Thursday the Italians came back marching in under freezing rain They stayed only thirty hours Six hours later the Greeks were back The same thing happened all over again in the second week of November The Italians came back This time they stayed about sixty hours The Greeks rushed back in as soon as the Italians had gone They spent all day Friday and Friday night in the city but when dawn broke on Saturday the city awoke to find itself completely deserted Everyone had gone Who knows why the Italians didn t come back Or the Greeks Saturday and Sunday went by On Monday morning footsteps The Unwavering Miss Winslow echoed in the street where none had been heard for several days Onither side of the street women opened their shutters gingerly and looked out It was Llukan the jailbird with his old brown blanket slung over his right shoulder In his kerchief je was carrying bread and cheese and was apparently on his way homeLlukan Bido Sherofi s wife called from a windowI was up there said Llukan pointing way homeLlukan Bido Sherofi s wife called from a windowI was up there said Llukan pointing the prison I went there to report but guess what The prison is closedThere was almost a touch of sadness in his voice The freuent changes of rulers had made mincemeat of his sentence and this put him out of SORTS No Greeks or Italians you meanGreeks Italians it makes no difference to me Llukan answered in Kaamelott, Tome 2 : Les Siges De Transport exasperation All I know is the prison isn t working The doors are wide openNot a soul around It snough to break your heart beginning of chapter 9This is just one La Transformation intérieure example of the humor Please read the book so you canxperience yourself the imagination of the main protagonistI have read a bit than half of this book I absolutely adore itI keep thinking I should stop and tell my GR friends I think I simply must copy a bit so you get to see what I am reading But then I simply can t I have to keep reading and I cannot copy the whole book as LA MAISON DE L'ABBAYE: Les chroniques dEdward Holmes sous la rgence du duc de Bedford et durant la cruelle et sanglante guerre entre les Armagnacs et les Bourguignons examples of why I am loving how this authorxpresses himself What I love about this book are the lines They are funny How can war be funny Well what happens is so absurd you do laugh Some lines are funny others conjure a picture of gloom others the delight of women in the yes of an adolescent boy and then there is magic too I don t really care what this author is talking about it is how he says whatever he wants to say that is so wonderfulThis book is much much much better than the author s The Three Arched Bridge Don t read that Read this. Instead an archaic backwater where a severed arm becomes a talisman and deflowered girls mysteriously vanish Woven between the chapters of the boy's story are tantalizing fragments of the city's history As the devastation mounts the fragments lose coherence and we perceive firsthand how the violence of war destroys than just buildings and bridges. ,
Yes beautiful yes sad yes terrifying and warm and mesmerizing But than that it gives a uniue insight into a hitherto unknown world a small city in Albania during World War II one that is occupied and lost occupied and lost The narrator is a boy who understands what is going on as best he can that is with no other context than that of his immediate life His only awareness of the outside world in fact comes from a book loaned to him by an older boy who is a student and something of an intellectual The young narrator is drawn to the book because it s cast of characters includes ghosts and witches and murderers The older boy tells him MacBeth is way too advanced for him but he takes it anyway and falls under its spell Somehow his world is real in the same way that MacBeth is real mythic and senseless and yet with a profound meaning one can only sense dimlyThe prose in translation is beautiful The boy s imagery is poetic and touching I loved this book I ve been in a reading rut lately Probably cause I had a visitor at my house for two weeks and had to do some preparations before It s summertime and I can t wait to get back to my reading Chronicle in Stone seemed like a novel that wasn t too long so I chose it to get me out of this rutWhat can I say It really is a wartime book written from the perspective of a child If you forget that the narrator is a child a lot of the magic gets lost and you won t njoy this book The child s point of view is humorous and he tries to Dtruite : J'ai pous un pervers narcissique (Rcits, tmoignages) explainverything for himself no matter how absurd At the beginning I sometimes forgot that the narrator was a child so I was thinking to myself there s a lot of magical realism in this book And I was somewhat reminded of The Tiger s Wife which I didn t Los Animales Fruteros enjoy However Chronicle in Stone turned out to be better I had no knowledge of Albania and its history prior to reading this novel Now I got a taste of how the villagers of a tiny country perceive foreign invasion and occupation and war They are in the midst of it and basically helpless But they don t behave like helpless people Instead they try to move on fill their bleak realities with a lot of humor and continue to gossip and live life There are so many characters in this story and I admit thatven at the Les Rois Mages end I wasn t 100% whoverybody was I didn t love this book but I think it got me out of the reading rut I don t usually start reviews with background information on the author but I didn t know anything about Albanian writer Ismael Kadare before I picked up purely by chance this wonderful bookIn 2005 Kadare won the first Man Booker International Prize for a body of work written in or translated into English He writes in Albanian and most of his work is available in English translation via French his works published in France Chronicle in Stone was first published in Albanian in 1971 though Kadare had been working on Manhunting elements of it since 1962 so it contains some of hisarliest work He revised it himself a number of times until a finalized definitive text appeared simultaneously in Albanian and French in 1997 The 2007 Trauée Rebecca Kean edition I read is translated directly from the Albanian by Arshi Pipa with an introduction by David Bellos who has translated many Kadare works from French into English anddited this oneIn his introduction Bellos says that many plot lines and story fragments introduced in Chronicle in Stone grow into a whole range of works set in varied times and locationsChronicle in Stone is set in Kadare s Southern Albanian home city Gjirokaster and it s clear from page 1 that the city itself is as central to the story as are its people Everything was old and made of stone from the streets and fountains to the roofs of the sprawling age old houses covered with grey slates like gigantic scales It was hard to believe that under this powerful carapace the tender flesh of life survived and reproduced It was a slanted city set at a sharper angle than perhaps any other city on The Ghostfaces earth and it defied the laws of architecture and city planning The top of one house might graze the foundation of another and it was surely the only place in the world where if you slipped and fell in the street you might well land on the roof of a house a peculiarity known most intimately to drunks The life of the stone city is seen through theyes of a boy slightly younger than Kadare himself would have been in the late 1930s and Le Grand Silence early 1940s when the book is set It s only as I m writing this review now that I realize that the first person narrator is unnamed perhaps it is Ismael that s how I think of himThe boy is fascinated by the life of the townspecially the women who ran his household and visited it and the two classes of older women the fearsome mothers in law katenxhikas who watched flew open their shutters to Les pieds nickeles sur beta 2 exchange news and gossip across the street and the centenarians the old crones who never went out The voices of the village women form part of the background texture of the novel andvery now and then a piece of news agerly told advances the narrativeKadare has a wonderful ar for dialogue and an ye for the ridiculous In this pre modern society traditional beliefs and practices dominate and there is always a great deal going on an aunt s chronic Catastrophism Managing Water Cisterns managing water cisterns English pilot s arm Uncle Avdo s failure to shoot a pig in the sky attempts to talk to girls and learn about sex and only partly glimpsed the conseuences for people who don t fit into conventional modes of behaviour a missing daughterAnd always the young men debated politics Albania s recent history had been turbulent and there were already deep divisions in the population before the Italian occupation in 1939 In the short time frame of this novel the Greeks and Italians invaded retreated invaded again the Italians build an aerodrome in the field outside the town And at the nd in 1943 the Germans invade and outbreaks of violence that lead to the civil war are beginning As the book progresses the political disturbances "Become Fiercer Acts Of "fiercer acts of and retribution become freuent within the local population a precursor to the full blown civil war that tore Albania apart and led to a repressive communist nationalist government following the defeat of Italy and Germany after WWII ttpsenwikipediaorgwikiHistoryofAlbaniaDavid Bellos introduction notes that we see these traumatic Le revers de la médaille events in the life of the city through theyes of a dreamy short sighted and highly imaginative child whose thoughts and interests are in girls hermaphrodites and homosexuals Inserted Fragments of Chronicles written in most part by Italian Garrison Commanders mark changes in political Soldados de Pern: Historia crtica sobre los montoneros environment and theffects of violence on the people of the town They are identifiably and deliberately separate from the young narrator s voiceHe seems only glancingly interested in the progress of invasion war and wider catastrophe The aerodrome used as a base for bombers is a source of fascination rather than fear for him their bombs were likely to be dropped somewhere lse though the aerodrome presence made Gjirokaster a target for English and Allied bombers The boy and others are fascinated by the planes which appear as one of the many story threads Family members were proud that their cellar was labeled by the authorities as a shelter for 90 people while others houses could shelter only 20 30 40 It was a large house full of many things including copper cauldrons plates of all sizes bread bins mortars iron hooks beams steel balls one was supposed to be a cannonball a whole clutter of strange old things but not a single book Visiting The Home Of A home of a who has books the boy is told to take one He finds one with the words ghost witches first murderer and ven second murderer seizes it without Le Mystère des cathédrales even looking at title runs home and begins to readIt is Macbeth When his mother makes him stop reading at night because the family has no fuel for a lamp he marvels at what a book this book contains that it calls the imagination to run free The book is a thin object It was so strange Between two cardboard covers were noises doors howls horses people All side by. Masterful in its simplicity Chronicle in Stone is a touching coming of age story and a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit Surrounded by the magic of beautiful women and literature a boy mustndure the deprivations of war as he suffers the hardships of growing up His sleepy country has just thrown off centuries of tyranny but new
Ismail Kadare ð 6 reviewSide pressed tightly against one another Decomposed into little black marks Hair Fundamentals of Marketing eyes legs and hands voices nails beards knocks on doors walls blood the sound of horseshoes shouts All docile blindly obedient to the little black marks The letters run in mad haste now here now there and so it runs on a brilliant telling of thexcitement of discoveryBellos writes that this Atlas militaire et stratgique : Menaces, conflits et forces armes dans le monde encounter with Macbeth is one of the most importantvents in the life of the narrator in Chronicle of Stone The underlying material of that play not just ghosts witches and murder but the dynamics of the struggle for power the ineradicable nature of a crime committed and the inexcusable flouting of the rules of hospitality run through Kadare s Deadly Nightshade entire work Kadare s authorial detachment and choice of narrator allow the reader to relatively detached from the horrors happening around tongage with the family and community life of Gjirokaster and to The Art Of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos enjoy the often absurdist humour I have already found another of his books The Successorand will continue to search I can see why he was on short lists for consideration for the Nobel Prize in Literature Knowing where the title comes from tells us a lot about this book The city and the stone houses themselves play such a part that they are like characters The story is set in Gjirokaster Albania a city of stone perched on such steep topography that a drunk can slip off the road on one street and land on a roof of a street below The uniueness of the city hasarned it UNESCO World Heritage Landmark statusKadare is the classic national writer of Albania He was born in 1936 so this coming of age story is set around WW II and the Rcits coquins des plaisirs dfendus events leading up to it Gjirokaster changed hands from Italians to Greeks many times in just a few years While in Italian hands it was bombed numerous times by the Allies Eventually the Germans invaded and that started a civil war among monarchists nationalistic rebels and communists Folks caught in the middle of this strife learned the meaning of hell For comparable war time horrors Gjirokaster Albania in WWII is seen through theyes of a young boy The town is invaded by the Italians Greeks Italians Greeks partisans and Germans It undergoes prolong air raids by the British The last third of the book introduces fully the partisans those for the King tho When I think of a city in stone I imagine an impregnable fortress This fortress however proved to be vulnerable When I think of a chronicle in stone I imagine a city which writes its own immutable history This city however had all kinds of foreign invaders making indelible marks in its history booksIsmail Kadare writes a rich Le Jardin des supplices engaging fictionalized memoir of his childhood years in Gjirokaster Albania Thevents around the time of World War Two are told through the Le grand cirque eyes of a nameless child living in a nameless Albanian city It is a tragic story but told in a darkly comical way that you don t notice the tragedy of it all till thend It is a direct chronological narrative blending an uneasy mix of horror and humourSPOILERS aheadThe inhabitants of the city are colourful characters with unpronounceable names It was hard keeping track of who s who but it did not interfere with the flow of the story Generally they came across as conservative suspicious superstitious and resistant to change The grannies were particularly amusing with their gossiping and hilarious uips Adele Blanc-sec 1/Adele et la bete especially the narrator s cantankerous acerbic headstrong grandmother All the old women had facial tics Their wrinkles leapt about so furiously it seemed they would come loose and fall off I had a feeling I was alreadyntangled in those wrinklesEven the background characters were amusing There was Gjergj Pula who kept changing his name to different languages depending on who was the current military invader Argjir Argjiri the hermaphrodite was ostracized for getting married The recidivistic Llukan freely walked in and out of the defunct prisonThe use of a child narrator gave it an interesting perspective Objects like rain drops streets the city the citadel were personified Some descriptions just captured the Manage My Emotions ethos perfectly The once revered anti aircraft gun was now a lame piece ofuipment The sound of the old anti aircraft gun was still different from the others It was like an old blind man teased by kids who responds by throwing stones that never hit their markThe narrator also has his bildungsroman but his development is tainted He starts off as a naive wide yed urchin complete with first crush on a married woman Margarita and first love with a girl Suzana He is innocent in violence and sexual matters He is mesmerized by the aerodrome and the big plane not knowing the implications of their presence on the city However when the bombings and killings start it is the
END OF INNOCENCE AND HE HIMSELFof innocence and he himself a potential accomplice to a murder Perhaps the biggest influences on the narrator were future revolutionaries Isa and Javer The fall from innocence was actually Eleven years ago I was in Albania and after being taken on a tour of the capital Tirana by a university student Theofania we sat down at a paveme Another amazing story from Kadare The city of his birth is brought to life through a child s yes during the various occupations and bombings that tormented the place during WWII The most poetic prose and imaginative imagery highlight the story and make it one of the best I have The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov ever read The story overflows with beautiful lovely interesting characters and thoughts that could only come from a child s mind so innocent andndearing that despite what is going on around him he still knows what is important his family his friends and his magnificent city I visited Gjirokaster in Albania in 1984 during the last year of the life of the country s dictator Enver Hoxha This town is the setting for Chronicle in Stone first published by Ismail Kadar in Albanian in Tirana in 1971 It was also his birthplace in 1936 and that of Enver Hoxha in 1908 I can attest that the city is indeed to uote Kadar "S Words A Stone Carapace "words a stone carapace by human flesh I did not realise until I read the book how many times the city had been occupied during WW2 repeatedly by the Italians and the Greeks and finally by the GermansThe author must have been about 7 or 8 years old when Gjirokaster became a theatre of war and was occupied by the Italian forces for the first time As David Bellos points out in his Afterword the narrator of the tale a young boy must have been a little older than Kadar The author describes the city s misfortunes through the Little angels eyes of an innocent young boy The result is a magical yet also realistic and credible description of theffects of war and occupation on the inhabitants and fabric of his city The narrator finds things interesting that the adults disdain For MMR: Science Fiction example hisxcitement and delight about the airfield constructed by the Italians and the comings and goings of their planes which were clearly up to no good as far as Albania was concerned upsets his family who only see the bad side of its Les planches courbes existence At first the boy is full of wonder aboutverything but gradually the seriousness of the situation that he and his family are Sur Les Courbes de Genre Un experiencing dawns upon him This novel is at the very least a beautiful and unusual portrayal of modern war through theyes of a child It contains deeper meanings and messages most of which would not have been lost on his Albanian readers who were living under the heel of a repressive dictatorshipLater on in the book we are told of the arrival of the Communist partisans who were under the leadership of Enver Hoxha and we read things that may well have been risky to Kiss: Hotter than Hell--The Stories Behind Every Song express whilst living as the author was under a repressive Stalinist regime where any criticism of it was not allowed However Kadar was criticised by the regime but never unlike many of his fellow authors imprisoned The reasons for this are to somextent revealed in an interview published in the It's Hotter In Hawaii edition of the novel that I read and also in the author s brief book Albanian Spring The Anatomy of Tyranny In Albanian Spring The Anatomy of Tyranny Kadar hints that thexile. Aves of domination inundate his city Through the boy's SUP/SUPURATION Trace crite eyes we see the terrors of World War II as he witnesses fascist invasions allied bombings partisan infighting and the many faces of human cruelty as well as the simple pleasures of life Evacuating to the countryside hexpects to find an ideal world full of xtraordinary things but discovers.