Chronicle In Stone, by Ismail Kadare

My Albanian read!  Set in the southern mountaintop village of Gjirokaster during the Second World War, it details the experiences of the residents as seen through the eyes of a young boy.  The country transitioned rather violently through multiple political systems and allegiances during this time and the story highlights the confusion and tension that even small communities encountered. 

My Albanian read!

I visited the now-city during my time in Albania.  The castle fortifications are still dominant.  Many of the roofs are still tiled with stone.  The childhood homes of the author, as well as the infamous Enver Hoxha, still stand.  The cobbled streets are truly beautiful, but the blood and sweat and emotions that the book's characters experienced on these same stones made them look different to me.  My memories of that place are now a mix of my own and those of the characters. 

The legacy of this time period is still a major influence on daily life and culture throughout the country.  The host family I was staying with in Tirana gave the book to me as a gift and it inspired some great conversations with the man of the house, who was was born at approximately the same time as the story's main character.  Reading the book in their home gave me a great opportunity to ask questions from primary sources!!!