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A window into another world

Der zerrissene April - Ismail Kadaré

It's Gjorg's turn to murder a man in the blood feud. There are many rules to be adhered to in the Kanun, the codex that governs life in the mountains of Albania. How to proceed with the murder, how to deal with it's aftermath, the cost of a missed attempt... We learn about this from Gjorg as he considers his act and from Besian Vorpsi, a newly married writer from Tirana visiting the mountains of his homeland to investigate how life is governed by the Kanun, the codex nearly as foreign to him as it is to us.


The title - Broken April - refers to the period of grace accorded the murderer, before he is fair game for retaliation.


Though the topic is really terrible, the rules that govern this life that feels so foreign to me are presented through the eyes of the people that uphold it as a way of life without being judgemental.