Broken April

Broken April

by Ismail Kadare

From the moment that Gjorg's brother is killed by a neighbour, his own life is forfeit: for the code of Kanun requires Gjorg to kill his brother's murderer and then in turn be hunted down. After shooting his brother's killer, young Gjorg is entitled to thirty days' grace - not enough to see out the month of April.Then a visiting honeymoon couple cross the path of the fugitive. The bride's heart goes out to Gjorg, and even these 'civilised' strangers from the city risk becoming embroiled in the fatal mechanism of vendetta.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 3.99
  • Pages: 216
  • Publish Date: November 6th 2003 by Vintage
  • Isbn10: 0099449870
  • Isbn13: 9780099449874

What People Think about "Broken April"

In Broken April, Kadare writes about one of them most peculiar and specific parts of Albanian culture, the feudal set of laws, Kanun, and its terrible Vendetta rules, Gjakmarrja. When one person is killed the family members are bound to revenge the murder by taking the life of the killer and so on. In the novel, Gjorgu, kills his brothers murderer and is waiting his turn to be hunted down by the dead mans family. He has to perform all the necessary preparations for the vendetta to continue its bloody course, including a walk to a distant village to pay a blood tax'' to the region's ruling family. Since the husband makes a living writing about the Kanun, he proposed to visit the remote mountain villages where the laws are most prevalent. While Bessian finds himself fascinated by the Kanun and Gjakmarrja, Diana is silently appalled. Albanian History To understand the appearance of The Kanun in Albania I believe the history of the country should be understood. The different rulers and lack of trust in justice made the remote villages in the mountains to develop their own set of rules. Regarding the Gjakmarrja, the laws say that if someone is killed the family members have to find and revenge the murder with blood. The family of the initial murderer now has to revenge their death and so on. If this was crazy, note that if a person is murdered as a guest, the host is responsible to revenge the death. People believe that when the law does nothing to help then the responsibility for justice falls in ones own hands.

Reading this book, it's like the land that time forgot because you're never quite sure where you are in history.

"Broken April" is a haunting story with an out of time charm. Just like it happens with Romanians - who share a similar bad reputation in Italy and had a megalomaniac dictator too - there are thousands of good, honest, hardworking and considerate Albanian immigrants between the Alps and Sicily. "Broken April" deals at the same time with backwardness and cultural heritage of Albania introducing the equally wonderful and terrifying "Kanun" an ancient code to settle arguments and controversies in the remote Albanian plateaus. This novel speaks about the Kanun and the people living (and quite often dying) according to its principles, but it's also an excellent cross-section of the Albanian mountaineers, a people able to welcome the Church and the Islam without losing most of its peculiar habits and with a fascination for towers.

Yet there is the uncanny feeling that our so called modern society is perhaps no different in the way it kills and mechanises death.

He has divided his time between Albania and France since 1990. In 1960 Kadare returned to Albania after the country broke ties with the Soviet Union, and he became a journalist and published his first poems. His first novel, The General of the Dead Army, sprang from a short story, and its success established his name in Albania and enabled Kadare to become a full-time writer.