Author: Ismail Kadare
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO
This is my 75th book of the year.
I have been slowing down a bit. It is hard to keep my head in a book when the weather outside is so beautiful. I have been spending a lot of hours in the garden, or just taking walks. I have been trying to pick up a few audio books to fill in that time, but not many of the books on this challenge are available in that form. They are a bit too rare for that.
This book takes place in Gjirokaster a stone town not far from the Greek border. This story is told from the point of view of a young boy. WWII is going on, and he is surrounded by a situation he does not fully understand. There is a pull between the Italians and the Greeks invading the country - sometimes one day after the other, and the people of this small town in Albania can't catch a break.
This young muslim boy starts to pay more attention to the town around him. He speaks of the people in his town who do not look kindly on those who are "different". There is a hermaphrodite that is killed because he dared fall in love. There is a girl that disappears when she is discovered with a boy she likes. And a lesbian who is banned from the town based on just that.
The book reveals how tradition, culture, and outside forces can come to destroy a town that does not do well with change. Beyond the devestation of the war and bombings, many people in the town felt the world was always coming to an end. Their fantastical beliefs and superstitions cause as many problems as the war does.
This was a pretty good book. It is written in a style that requires you to really pay attention. The author does a good job telling the story from the eyes of a child, and I think it is overall well written. The old ladies in this town do believe that the world is constantly ending - whether it be the war and bombings or the towns people that don't quite fit into their tiny mold.
I am glad I read it. I understand that this small town is a UNESCO site, so I think I will put it on my list to visit someday.