Chronicle in Stone Hardcover – 4 May 1998
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"A great novel . . . a joyful, often comic piece of work" (James Wood New Yorker)
"Sophisticated and accomplished in its poetic prose and narrative deftness" (John Updike New Yorker)
"A master storyteller" (John Carey)
"Ismail Kadare has sometimes been compared with Kafka, and you can see why" (Mail on Sunday)
"There are very few writers alive today with the depth, power and resonance of this remarkable novelist" (Herald)
"Chronicle in Stone is stunning, the quintessential tale of war seen through a child's eyes" (Susan Salter Reynolds Los Angeles Times)
"Writing like this is hard to stop quoting...It is musical not only in rhythms that survive in this deft...translation but in its most elemental perceptions" (-Evan Eisenberg, The Nation)
"[Albania's] most remarkable export: the novels of Ismail Kadare" (Ken Kalfus, The Village Voice Literary Supplement)
"Chronicle in Stone is epic in its simplicity; the history of a young Albanian and a primitive Albania awakening into the modern world" (Michael Dregni, Minneapolis Star Tribune) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
An early masterpiece from the inaugural winner of the International Man Booker Prize with an introduction by James Wood. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The narrator is a young boy trying to come to terms with the turmoil of war. His ancient city is swarming with occupiers, collaborators, revolutionaries, survivors, ordinary folk just trying to exist. And in the early 1940s, all is confusion - only a few decades after Albania's independence from the Ottoman Empire, the city changed hands several times back and forth between Italians, Greeks (with the aid of the British RAF bombers), Nazis - not to mention the various Albanian factions each with their own agendas (monarchists, nationalists, communists). Trying to understand the world of adults is hard enough for children - but when this is going on, it's impossible.
Kadare recaptures the innocent confusion of children with pitch perfect poignancy. Here is a little moment where the young narrator has a go.Read more ›
He soon finds out. The story covers the period from 1939 to 1944. When it opens, the Italians, who had taken Albania in April 1939, are in occupation. The Greeks capture the town in 1940; the Italians recapture it briefly, are driven out again, but then return once more. When Italy leaves the war in 1943, the Germans take over Albania.
The first sign of war is that, just outside the town, the plain where the cows have been grazing is being turned into an aerodrome.Read more ›
The introduction is informative. The translation reads well,suggesting a poetic quality in the original.
Kadare allows us to see how the all consuming nature of the second world war broke into the relatively insular life of Gjirokaster.
The narrative through a young boys eyes also provides humour and fear.
An easier read than most Kadare novels
I found this to be a beautiful and eloquently written book, based on a childs perceptions of war - the outbreak of WW2. The age of the child is unspecified, but one wonders whether this book is at least autobiographical, given the age of the author and the fact that it is apparently set in his hometown. The child, whomever and however old he is, has a vivid imagination, seeing images in raindrops and imagining that the echo from the cistern is an actual voice and therefore consciousness, answering him back.
Life is not easy for this child, as he grows up in one of Europe's most superstitious countries, steeped in tradition, where any form of moral transgression is severely frowned upon - the men as they say are men, and the women, women, who have to know their place. When the boy pays a visit to the local slaughterhouse, he tries to imagine what the slaughter of a nation would look like, and sadly it is not too long before he begins to find out.
The first sign that anything is amiss is when an aerodrome begins to be built. The narrator is excited by this event, imagining the planes with their own personalities, just like people, but the adults around him recognise that this is the first sign of war. Then the blackouts begin, with his house, or rather the cellar, turned into an air raid shelter, where half the villagers, or so it seems, seek refuge. As the air raids intensify, the villagers begin to share their stories, one by one, and we learn what makes these people tick.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
with childish voice , funny and innocent narrating of albania during the WWII by a young boy.nothing fascinating in all it's part,just he kept prattling without something that... Read morePublished on 11 Jun. 2014 by Hesham AlMahozi
I visited Gjirokaster in Albania in 1984 during the last year of the life of the country's dictator, Enver Hoxha. Read morePublished on 19 Sept. 2013 by ADAM
This is a view of the 2nd world war in an albanian hill town form the perspective of a boy - it's not clear how old he is 8 or 12 or maybe it doesn't matter. Read morePublished on 2 July 2013 by Miss KF Preedy