Broken April – Ismail Kadare

Broken April is the first book I read from the Man Booker prize winner, Albanian author Ismail Kadare. It is a book that both surprised and saddened me. The subject is the Kanun; a feudal law similar to the blood feud in Turkey. However, I have never heard of such a detailed Kanun, and it was fascinating to learn.


Broken April reveals the Kanun in Albania in its finest detail, as well as the sorrowful story of a young person who will not long enough to see May. Gjorgu, who unwittingly killed a man, to revenge his brother, will live without fear of being killed for a certain period according to the Kanun. However, it will be time to be killed, and the other family will go after him to take revenge.

Broken April - Ismail Kadare

On the other hand, we read a couple who spend their honeymoon wanting to learn more about these age-old rules and blood feuds. The paths of this couple cross somehow with Gjorgu and change the life of both. At the same time, the thoughts of the newly married couple about each other are evolving in the highlands. Broken April, aside from the above, is a novel that entirely teaches the reader about the Kanun. While learning about it, of course, people learn a lot about Albania as well. If you are interested and want to learn more about Albania, you’ll love this. Enjoy!

Broken April - Ismail Kadare

Broken April

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.

Ismail Kadare

Ismail Kadare is an Albanian novelist, poet, essayist and playwright. From 1970 to 1982 he was a member of the Parliament of Albania. At that time known as the Assembly of the People’s Republic of Albania, and deputy chairman of the Democratic Front.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

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