The novel “Broken April” by Ismail Kadare, has given me a deeper insight of how violently the Albanian’s culture is, as my experience is exposed to its context, themes, and ideas. Ismail Kadare presents us a close up view through a character, Gjorg, to show how the isolated people of the High Plateau live under its traditions, laws, and cultures known as the Kanun. Throughout the novel, Gjorg seems to feel hopeless, helpless and pressured as his bessa is coming to an end and knowing he will never meet his star crossed lover, Diana, again.
As Gjorg’s journey across the High Plateau, he met a beautiful woman from the city, Diana. Kadare uses Diana as a city culture and enters her to the culture of the Kanun. Both characters fell in love at first sight, but their culture differences stop them from crossing each other path. The Kanun has taken Gjorg’s privilege away from meeting Diana as his death is coming closer each day. Diana is a married woman, and she has to return to the city as her honeymoon trip is over and knowing she will never meet Gjorg again.
I felt Kadare uses these two cultures as a comparison to show how our values and practices are different and we cannot do anything but just abide to the rules. Furthermore, as each day passes by, and Gjorg’s granted bessa was about to be over, it gives me a pessimistic feeling to be in Gjorg’s position. He knows his prosecutor is coming to avenge its family member death and cannot do anything about it. Gjorg was helpless. As I imagine myself to be part of the Kanun, I have learned its power of custom and law.
It seems to have a strong heavy weight of tradition that is carried out through the generations. For example, Gjorg’s past ancestors, and most recently, his brother. The killing shows me a concept of honor and honorable behavior in the code. I can understand why Gjorg is pressured to avenge his brother. Kadare has put us in a position where our rights have already been written, and we cannot do anything but perceive to what the laws say.