‘Broken April’ is a highly acclaimed novel by Ismail Kadare, an Albanian author. Kadare is a well-known author of Albania who has won some prestigious awards for delivering few bestselling novels. The author wrote ‘Broken April’ in the year 1978 and presented a realistic picture of the Albanian society in front of the world. The story of this novel revolves around bizarre traditions of Albanian society. One of such traditions is known as ‘Kanun’. This custom is all about taking the revenge of near and dears and suggests relatives of victims to kill people who killed their relatives. The author describes how Albanian society could not emerge as other developed nations of the European continent. This paper intends to discuss the novel, ‘Broken April’ along with discussing various other related aspects of the subject matter.
Natural landscape has been extensively used by the author to describe many scenes in the novel. He keeps describing natural landscapes in order to depict the moods of characters of the story. Change in natural landscapes also changes the mood of characters in various scenes. In the first chapter of the novel itself, the author gives a description of geographical landscapes in these words, “his feet were cold, and each time he moved his numbed legs a little he heard the desolate grating of pebbles under his shoes. But the sense of desolation was really inside him. Never before had he stayed motionless for so long, lying in wait behind a ridge that overlooked the highway. Daylight was fading”. The author gives this description so that the main character Gjorg could garner the sympathy of readers. Further author describes how these traditions cause bloodbath in the society and compel people to indulge in the bloodbath whether they like it or not.
The author suggests that even after being a part of the European continent, Albania is a very close society and carries all traditions and practices that other Europeans abandoned in late middle ages. The author in his novel portrays a number of traditional practices as irrelevant that are prominently practiced in Albanian society. Natural landscape and geographical location of Albania has a lot to do with the blood bath and other weird traditional practices that the author has portrayed in his novel. The story takes place in mountains that is situated in deeply remote area. People have nothing much to do and they have a lot of free time to spend. Mountains have not tested the development and all traditional practices are intact in the society. People are bound to abide by traditional practices and they cannot afford to breach traditional practices. Natural landscape and geographical remoteness have been portrayed as one of main factors that contribute in occurring of some weird happenings in the mountains. All rituals were designed centuries ago and they are transferred from a generation to other generation.
People are expected to carry traditional practices without questioning their logic. ‘Kanun’ is nothing but a traditional practice that people of mountains used to practice since centuries and Gjorg became a target of such practices. One reason of such bizarre practices in mountains is remoteness of mountains. Mountains are not touched by the winds of development that changed the entire Europe. Gjorg was a man who used to believe in changes and did not believe in things like ‘Kanun’ but he turned out to be a mere stooge in hands of traditional practices that affected people of mountains since centuries. Gjorg was incited by people and he committed a murder in name of maintaining tradition after avenging his brother’s death. Natural landscape of Albania is one very important aspect of the story. In this story, a couple from urban Albania goes to highlands. This couple visited mountains for their honeymoon and at the same time, they wanted to know about the place that was highly dangerous. This couple and becomes a victim of Kanun. A young man Gjorg shoots Bessian in order to break April tradition. Gjorg had killed a man in order to take revenge of his brother’s death and it was inevitable to kill someone in order to follow the tradition of the society. If he failed in killing someone he would have damned and murdered for breaking the tradition of the society.
Having observed an overview and succinct analysis of the abovementioned subject, the paper concludes that ‘Broken April’ is an eye-opening novel by the Ismail Kadare. The author has presented the reality of his society in a fearless manner. He presents evils of the society before the world and suggests that Albanian people are still stuck with the mindset of middle ages. The author succeeded in presenting the picture of highlands in a realistic manner that educates and entertains readers in a considerable way. Natural landscape and geographical remoteness influence the story in a substantial way and the author has presented a nice portrayal of natural landscapes of Albania.
Kadare, Ismail. Broken April. Chicago: New Amsterdam Books, 1982.