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Chronicle in Stone: A Novel Paperback – July 1, 2011
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Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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In the early years of World War II, Gjirokaster suffers the travails of an essentially defenseless city, overrun first by the Italian Army, then the Greeks with the assistance of the British Royal Air Force, and eventually the Nazis before finally succumbing to the oppressive thumb of Stalinist Russia. The uneducated townfolk, still heavily prone to superstition and fantastical beliefs, exchange rumors of a red-bearded man, Yusuf Stalin, who will drive out the unwelcome invaders. "Is he a Muslim?" one character asks another. After a moment's hesitation, the other replies confidently, "Yes. A Muslim." "That's a good start," the first answers. Later, it is the infamously sun-glassed Hoxha who is believed to have started a new kind of war, the one that brings the Germans to Gjirokaster.
Kadare hilariously personifies the absurd effect of this constant changing of hands. Albanians leks become Greek drachmas, then Italian lire, then back to leks again. At one point, a plane drops leaflets on the town that begin, "Dear citizens of Hamburg.Read more ›
The choice to use a child narrator heightens the sense of immense change that the city is undergoing, for this child sees the city's buildings, streets, and bridges as living entities which shift and move and change their mood from day to day, one day seeming to offer firm comfort and shelter, and the next seeming menacing and hazardous, depending on the weather, the attitude of the people around him, the relative brutality of the occupying army, and the intensity and closeness of the bombing campaign. In the stone facades, steep winding streets, and rain-streaked rooftops of the city, the narrator personifies the desires and sufferings of his people, but he does so unselfconsciously, for he is merely reporting what he sees and feels, because for him the city really is alive.
As a child, he is also able to report what he sees with a peculiar mix of detachment and awe that would not be possible from an adult. When the city is bombed, the emotion he feels above any other is pride in the fact that his house, as one of the biggest and strongest in his neighborhood, is chosen as a bomb shelter.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Chronicle In Stone, by Ismail Kadare is a coming of age novel set in a small Albanian city during WWII. The narrator is a young boy trying to make sense of the world around him. Read morePublished 5 days ago by The Pie Dude
What a sad story. It was a little difficult to keep the characters straight. I think this was most likely do the strange ethnic spelling of names that were hard to pronounce.Published 1 month ago by S. Dunn
This book, from the viewpoint of the narrator, a child, while his home town is besieged during war and revolution. Read morePublished 2 months ago by James Fraise-Blanc
I read this boom first, in original Albanian. My family hails from Gjirokastra. I have read it several times, and I read the English translation just out of curiosity. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Albi Qeli
Kadare's own experiences as a youth are in this book. I enjoyed the stories of youth and war events unfolding in Kadare's home country but this wasn't a "page turner."Published 8 months ago by AndrewBuyReview
Wonderful story. Amazing imagery. I decided to read this book because I was planning a trip to Albanian. I discovered a new favorite author. It is a real treat.Published 9 months ago by Jill's Kindle
To me an unknown author in Nobel Prize class from a likewise unknown country ... Great reading - mystery and and every day realism in a great mix.Published 9 months ago by Agneta Sandelin
Chronicle in Stone, is not a book I would have chosen to read on its own merits. Its primary recommendation was in being written by Albania’s most popular (and therefore most... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Molly Dodd