The 3 arched bridge by Ismail Kadare
Original title Ura Me Tri Harqe
Translator – John Hodgson
Source – Library book
On the way to your brother’s house in the valley deep
By the river bridge, a cradle floating beside me
In the whitest water on the bank against the stone
You will lift his body from the shore and bring him home
Oliver James washed in the rain
Oliver James washed in the rain
Oliver James by fleet foxes is a nice match to this traditonal fable story .
Well yesterday saw me review a book by Roberto Bolano today I’m reviewing Ismail Kadare another writer whom has featured a number of times on this blog , I have reviewed three of his book before now .Kadare is one of the names often mentioned as a potenial Nobel prize winner .
As expected , the news of the bridge to be built over the Ujana e Kepe spread rapidly ,Bridges had been built now and then in all sorts of places , but nobody remembered any of them causing such commotion .They had been built with virtually not a word of comment , to the muffled sounds of hammers on wood
The bridge is built but keeps falling down why !
This rather like an earlier novel I reviewed by Kadare the pyramid which is also set in a past , although this book is not as far back as the pyramid .The book is set in the 14th century .The book is based on a legend /myth of the region about a castle being built , for this book thou Kadare has changed the castle to a bridge that connects the then split up into tiny regions Albania to the rest of Europe via this bridge .Which keeps being destroyed , also the men working on the bridge keep falling ill , is it by the ferry men or is it something else happening , the people start sing songs about the bridge and the ferry men also a tale of a castle like the original tale that Kadare based this book on and it is decided that a sacrifice is needed to save the bridge but whom ? Who will be willing to let them selves be killed to have a bridge built , the victim face is remembered in plaster on the bridge .All this is narrated to us by a monk Gjon .
A few days before the final work on the bridge , one of the foreman’s two assistants , the fat one , fell ill with a rare and frightening disease : all the hairs on his body fell out . They shut him in a hut and tried in every possible way to keep his sickness secret , but there was no way it could be concealed .
Another worker falls sick , as they try to get the bridge built .
Rather like the book the pyramid which I have also reviewed , I felt this maybe more than it seems on the surface which is an Albanian folktale retold with a few changes in the story a bridge instead of a castle .No to me this is more a book of its time which is the mid seventies , than a story of something that happened over five hundred years before that .I feel the book , which was written in 1976 , maybe shows the events in Albania at the time using the myth and legend to maybe show the isolation of the Hoxha regime of the time , maybe the bridge falling is the way he kept Albania separate from Europe .I feel the sacrifice maybe eludes to what he felt at that time , what people had to do to get the bridge built (or the links and more open regime in Albania ) .I do prefer these books that have been translated directly from Albanian and like in places that John Hodgson has manage to keep a traditional feel to the piece of old songs and words used by Gjon
have you read any books by Ismail kadare ?