Gjorg is a young mountaineer who (much against his will) has just killed a man in order to avenge the death of his older brother, and who expects to be killed himself in accordance with the Code that regulates life in the Albanian highlands. A young couple on their honeymoon has come to this place to study its age-old customs-including the blood feud. In Broken April, Ismail Kadare intersects the fates of both Gjorg and the young couple with visions of an unending cycle of obligatory murder and the horrifying effects it has on their respective lives. "Dostoevskian in its dark vision."—Kirkus Reviews.
Honeymooners in the mountains of Albania and a young man playing out a blood feud set the stage for this mesmerizing tale. Ordered by his father to obey the mandates of Kanun , or mountain law, Gjorg Berisha kills a a man to avenge the murder of his brother. According to the Kanun , however, it is the right and duty of the slain man's family to murder Gjorg after the bessa , or 30-day truce, expires in mid-April. Gjorg plans to spend the first, ``white'' part of that month as a wanderer, but first must walk to a distant village to pay a ``blood tax'' to the region's ruling family. On the way, he catches the eye of Diana Vorpsis, traveling in the mountains by carriage with her new husband, Bessian. Something about Gjorg, his role in the drama she hears about and his probable death captures Diana's soul. She becomes increasingly withdrawn as she longs to find the young man she has earlier glimpsed, while Gjorg is equally determined to find her and learn of her life before his April turns ``black.'' Thanks to simple prose and engaging details, the Albanian Kadare ( Chronicles in Stone ) makes this story of harsh yet romantic mountain life ring magically true.