Broken April, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


From the moment that Gjorg's brother is killed by a neighbour, his own life is forfeit: for the code of Kanun requires Gjorg to kill his brother's murderer and then in turn be hunted down.

After shooting his brother's killer, young Gjorg is entitled to thirty days' grace - not enough to see out the month of April.

Then a visiting honeymoon couple cross the path of the fugitive.

The bride's heart goes out to Gjorg, and even these 'civilised' strangers from the city risk becoming embroiled in the fatal mechanism of vendetta.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780099449874

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

What an eye-opener of a book. I never realized that something like the vendetta existed in such a serious and organized fashion. On the high plateaus of northern Albania, the north country <i>rrafsh</i>, the people live by the code, by the <i>Kanun</i>. This is a written set of codes that covers all aspects of living, and dying. The <i>Gjakmarrja</i>, blood feud, is the focus of this book.When Gjorg's brother is killed by a neighbor, it becomes Gjorg's duty to avenge his death. This immediately marks the end of Gjorg's life because the <i>Gjakmarrja</i> is never ending. The book begins with the narrative following Gjorg then shifts to a honeymooning couple from the city of Tirana visiting the plateau region and then to the <i>steward of the blood</i>, the man in charge of receiving the blood tax. The alternating narratives provide differing perspectives on the land of the <i>rrafsh</i> and the <i>Kanun</i>.The mountain regions are believed to be the home of the gods and the people living there are like titans.It is a sad, brutal little book and a great starting point for reading Ismail Kadare... one of my favorite books by this Albanian writer.

Review by

"People on the road who bear the mark of death, like trees marked for felling", 6 Dec. 2015This review is from: Broken April (Paperback)Set in the remote Northern Highlands of Albania, the novel opens with a young man lying in wait to avenge the murder of his brother. But this 'honour killing' will just perpetuate the blood feud between the two families as after a month's truce, they will be lying in wait to kill him, and so on indefinitely... This is not anarchy but the law of the Kanun.Kadare starts the work by following Gyorgy after the death, his awareness of the approaching end of the truce: "Everyone had a whole April, while his was amputated, cut off" and his journey to the Castle of Orosh to pay the compulsory blood-tax.Then into the story come a well-to-do honeymooning couple from Tirana. The groom is eager to show his wife the romantic world of the blood feud, but she reacts somewhat differently...We also see the custom from the point of view of the 'steward of the blood', responsible for collecting the blood-tax, and for whom, therefore, the killings are a thing to be encouraged. This point is brought out in a later conversation, with political connotations:-Blood has been turned into merchandise.-That is an incontestable truth.-Have you read Marx?

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