Spring Flowers, Spring Frost: A Novel

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Arcade Publishing, 2002 - Fiction - 182 pages
1 Review
In a small town at the foot of the northern highlands, life appears to go on as it always has, but people are in a state of shock. The robbery of a local bank is seen as a sign of modern times and of westernization in this backward Balkan land. At the same moment, the harsh blood-for-blood law of the mountain folk, the fearsome Kanun, like everything else forbidden under the fifty years of Communist rule, is emerging from hibernation.
Other strange things occur. Mysterious events that are two thousand years, two centuries, or even two years old reemerge in daily life. The marriage of a girl and a snake is not just a legend but a news item - a cyclical event recurring every few hundred years that is as much a part of the modern as of the ancient world.
In a desolate spot on the outskirts of the town, some people search for the entrance to a tunnel that is said to lead to the secret archives of the State. They're looking for evidence of their own crimes - or of hypothetical crimes they might have committed. People say that the ghostly likenesses of Hoxha, Brezhnev, Ulbricht, Thorez - and even Oedipus - have been seen lurking there.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - albertgoldfain - LibraryThing

A gem of a novella that is very much enhanced by the use of Albanian folklore and shifting focus. The symbolism and structure are a bit heavy at times, but overall a thought provoking work. Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

The newest (2000) from the internationally renowned Albanian author of Elegy for Kosovo (2000) and The Three-Arched Bridge (1998) consists of two separate, very unequal stories. The better by far is a ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Ismail Kadare is the most prominent of contemporary Albanian writers. He has written poetry, short stories, literary criticism, and seven novels. His works have been translated and published in more than two dozen countries. An internationally known figure, he has visited and lectured in many countries. He was also a representative to Albania's People's Assembly. In 1990 Kadare left Albania for Paris where he became openly dissident.

Bellos is professor of French at Princeton University, won the Prix Goncourt de la Biographie for his life of Georges Perec. He is also the award-winning translator of Perec's Life: A User's Manual and other novels.

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