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The Albanian Affairs Hardcover – November 17, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: McPherson (November 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0929701798
  • ISBN-13: 978-0929701790
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,426,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fortes's taut fifth novel (published in Spain to great acclaim in 2003, and also her first to be translated into English) tells the story of a family destroyed by the Communist regime in Albania. Ismail and Viktor's mother dies when the boys are young. As a young adult, Ismail, a budding poet, endured the Albanian cultural revolution of the early 70s, in which foreign influences were purged. Now, years later, he begins to suspect the death of his mother, a Spaniard, was not accidental—was she killed as part of a political plot? Fjording the could-be-your-neighbor spies and informers of the Hoxha regime, Ismail digs into his mother's past and learns about his mother's lover and of their foiled plans to run away together. As Ismail is discovering his mother's illicit love, he is also discovering his brother's wife, Helena. The sexual tension between Ismail and Helena is palpable from their first clasp of hands under a tablecloth. Sharply rendered by Chambers, Fortes's examination of the costs of loyalty begins—and ends—with a bang. (Nov. 17)
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Review

[The Albanian Affairs is a] powerful meditation on the destinies of love's outlaws. (Starred Review) --Kirkus Reviews

Skillfully translated from the original Spanish by Leland H. Chambers, The Albanian Affairs is a heartrending novel by author Susana Fortes. Runner-up for the Planeta Prize for fiction, one of Spain's most renowned literary competitions, The Albanian Affairs is set in the nation of Albania during Enver Hoxha's tyrannical dictatorship. Within the villa of state hero Zanum Radjik on Tirana's Elbesan road, there squats a house filled with menacing secrets. Zanum's wife is deceased these many years, and his two very different sons, who embark upon vastly different paths of honor. When the elder son, Viktor, brings home a beautiful peasant bride, passion for her threatens to overwhelm the younger sibling Ismail. The Albanian Affairs is at once a steamy tale of forbidden love, a harrowing novel of mental and emotional oppression, and a tragedy in the vein of ancient Greek classics. Highly recommended for modern literature shelves. --Midwest Book Review

The novel is surrounded by mystery and a sense of tragic life, which undoubtedly binds this ensemble of characters that are doomed to failure from the start. It also parallels the fear and secrecy felt by many Albanians who were in opposition with communism and its doctrine. Susana Fortes deftly blends elements of realism, mystery, suspense, revenge and eroticism... --Illyria, the Albanian-American Newspaper

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on April 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Albania. The enigma of Europe. When one thinks of Albania, if one thinks of it at all, one usually draws a blank. Why? Several reasons. One, it's not a European powerhouse like Germany, England, or France. Two, the country is located in the Balkans, an area generally ignored by the West. Three, the terrain is mountainous in a way that inhibited the easy flow of peoples and ideas into and out of the rest of Europe. Four, and probably the most important point here, Albania sank into deep isolation for roughly forty years thanks to the heavy-handed reign of one Enver Hoxha. Uncle Enver, as I "fondly" refer to him, was a hardcore Stalinist and paranoid sociopath who essentially closed the nation off from the rest of the world shortly after WWII. How paranoid was he? One of his grand projects involved building thousands of concrete bunkers along the coastline of the country in order to stave off a possible invasion from the West. It should go without saying that all of this came with a generous helping of prison camps, reeducation programs, and mass executions. Only in the last decade or so has Albania begun to open up to the rest of the world.

This newfound openness has led to a literal explosion of books about Albania. Lots of new histories are coming out, and we're even starting to see a few novels. One of them is Susana Fortes' "The Albanian Affairs". According to the book jacket, Fortes is a Spanish author who has won numerous prizes for her fiction. I can see why after reading the book. "The Albanian Affairs" is, on the surface, a story about forbidden love doomed to tragedy. It's the story of two brothers, Viktor and Ismail, growing up as sons of a powerful communist party apparatchik. The doomed love enters the picture in the form of the lovely Helena.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Skillfully translated from the original Spanish by Leland H. Chambers, The Albanian Affairs is a heartrending novel by author Susana Fortes. Runner-up for the Planeta Prize for fiction, one of Spain's most renowned literary competitions, The Albanian Affairs is set in the nation of Albania during Enver Hoxha's tyrannical dictatorship. Within the villa of state hero Zanum Radjik on Tirana's Elbesan road, there squats a house filled with menacing secrets. Zanum's wife is deceased these many years, and his two very different sons, who embark upon vastly different paths of honor. When the elder son, Viktor, brings home a beautiful peasant bride, passion for her threatens to overwhelm the younger sibling Ismail. The Albanian Affairs is at once a steamy tale of forbidden love, a harrowing novel of mental and emotional oppression, and a tragedy in the vein of ancient Greek classics. Highly recommended for modern literature shelves.
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