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The Three Arched Bridge

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  532 ratings  ·  37 reviews
In 1377, on the frontier between the crumbling Byzantine empire and the advancing Ottoman Turks, a mysterious work crew begins to construct a three-arched bridge, despite warnings of war. A superbly realized work of historical fiction and at once a Kafkaesque parable of the barbarism currently sweeping its author's Albanian homeland.
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published by Arcade Publishing (first published 1978)
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In 1377 a monk, Gjon [John] Ukcama, begins his chronicle of the events of that time in his corner of Albania. What follows is a mesmerizing, frightening tale. It can be read on several levels; the straightforward narrative of a bridge being built over a raging river, the Ujana e Keqe ["Wild waters"], construction undermined by sabotage, bitter rivalry between two entities: Boats & Rafts and Roads & Bridges. Byzantium is crumbling; the Ottoman Empire encroaches on Albania; Gjon writes on ...more
Only red blood in common.

A babble of languages. Their music ‘this stupor, this hashish dissolved in the air in the form of song'. Their dervishes with ragged clothes that look like hair, and with hair that looks like rags. The differences between Europe and Ottoman Asia, suddenly at Albania’s borders.

But more differences between ‘us' and ‘them' come before that--among people of the Balkans themselves. Obscured competition for the profits of commerce come to this small principality from outside,

كاداريه من جديد، اقترب متهيباً، فالذروة التي وصلتها مع (الحصار)، أعقبها هبوط مع (قصة مدينة الحجر)، فما الذي يخبئه لي كاداريه في جسره؟

صفحتين فقط، كل ما كان كاداريه يحتاجه ليشد أذني قبل انتباهي، وكأن الألباني العجوز الذي أمتعني في (الحصار) و(دورنتين) و(الوحش) غاضب من تشكيكي بقدراته، في هذه الرواية تتردد كالعادة موضوعة كاداريه الأثيرة الأسطورة عندما تمتزج بالواقع، لتصنع عالماً خاصاً.

تدور أحداث الرواية في ألبانيا القرون الوسطى، على ضفة نهر الأويان يصرع رجل غريب، فيتحدث الناس عن أن هذه إشارة
The story is set in 1377, and our narrator is an Albanian monk, who watches as the Turkish armies gather over the Balkan Peninsula. With a few deft strokes Kidare conveys the great extent of political and economic shifts occurring in Europe in the late Middle Ages: the collapse of Byzantium, the spread of an international currency and the formation of large financial conglomerates, some of them complicit with the emerging Turkish imperial expansion.

A picture is created of a community in the grip
Mérita Selimi
My rating may not be totally objective (I was about to give it four stars actually) but this novel's core is a legend my father told me when I was a little girl (the legend of Rozafa) so I guess it really resonates in me, on a personal level.

Anyway, in this novel Kadare analyses the relationship between legends and reality. He tends to demonstrate how legends can be (have been?) used for treacherous purposes (conceal a crime for example...).

But as a master of allegories and metaphors, Kadare dev

رواية تاريخية تعتمد على أساطير ألبانية قديمة، الجسر هو العنصر الرئيسي الذي تدور حوله الأحداث، يظهر بناء الجسر متحدياً نهر الأويان اللعين وينفر الناس من هذا المخلوق الغريب وتشاركهم جنيات الماء هذا النفور.

المد العثماني هاجس يرعب أهل أربيريا -اسم ألبانيا القديم- وتوافد جواسيس الأتراك إلى البلاد ينذر بكارثة قريبة، تتضارب مصالح بناة الجسر مع أصحاب العبّارات وينتهي الأمر بأضحية بشرية تُحبس في بناء الجسر لتحميه من هجمات عفاريت المياه، تتعاقب فصول السنة وانحسار النهر وامتداده على أهالي البلدة ونذر الحر
A different bridge, a different river and a different time but the story of this book's bridge and the story of the bridge depicted by the Bosnian author Ivo Andric in The Bridge on the Drina are ultimately the same. I prefer Andric's story. There is a beauty in Andric's story that shines. Here desolation is the prominent tone. I was haunted by the similarity. How can one author copy another like this?! Read the original by Andric.
I thought this book was fantastic. Kadare's story is short, almost a novella, and yet it is layered with issues of every shape and size, from mythology and religion to war and architecture. There are hints of fable and satire in this story, and while it is set in the medieval period its questions about authority and deceit feel targeted toward the modern day. I am fully impressed by Kadare's ability to write such a multi-faceted tale.
As the title of the book says, Ismail Kadare's De brug met drie bogen is about a bridge. It is constructed in the period 1377-1379 in a small Albanian village. The narrator, a monk named Gjon, intents to chronicle the construction of the bridge during bleak times.

I am a proponent of a political reading: the bridge is constructed at a time when the Ottoman Empire expands on to the Balkan and threatens the people of the village. This is also a time of flowering capitalism. The bridge connects the
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Three-Arched Bridge, written in Albania between 1976 and 1978, is based on a myth of sacrifice and creation, which also appears in other works by Kadare, and is present in different versions throughout the Balkans.

The legend is about three brothers, all masons, whose efforts to build a castle were in vain because everything built during daytime was destroyed by an unknown force at night. After having unsuccessfully worked for a long time, the masons are told by a wise man that the construct
As the narrator says, this is a simple but complex story. The narrator, a monk, called upon to translate for the rulers of his tiny universe, watches and reports on the building of a bridge and the changing landscape.

There is the imagery of the middle ages, its superstition, its brutality, its insularity and the, perhaps, self fulfilling outlook that the world is beyond their control.

The ruler of this area refuses a good strategic marriage for his daughter without concern for the wider world and
Moira McPartlin
Set in 1377 and narrated by an Albanian monk, this at first doesn't seem an attractive read but I'm a fan of Ismail Kadare so gave it a go. It didn't disappoint. In his usual style of weaving Albanian folk tales with history The Three-Arched Bridge tells of the invasion of the Ottoman empire into Europe and the threat to Christianity. But it is also a story of small town politics, fear, ignorance and greed. It is, in essence, an allegory of modern times. Very clever.
This short, atmospheric novel is narrated by a fourteenth-century Albanian monk as he observes the construction of a bridge across a river. The construction arouses curiosity, skepticism, and even fear in the inhabitants of the nearby village, especially once the construction process takes an unexpected turn that echoes an old, sinister legend. This all occurs across a backdrop of bickering nobles, a weakening Byzantine Empire, the encroachment of the rising Ottomans, and rumors of war and plagu ...more
خلود بن خميس
رواية رائعة جدا رغم تحفظي على الجزء المذكور به الأتراك..سلاسة وجمال يصوغانها ، بها من الأساطير والمواعظ اشئ الجميل. ربما هي اشبه بحالنا الآن . هي باعتقادي عبارة عن تاريخ يعيد ويكرر نفسه ولكن بحلة جديدة .
اشعر بالأسى تجاه مرّاش زينيبيس واعتقد انه كبش فداء وليس أضحية ساقتها قدماها لقدرها
استمتعت بقراءتها لم تخدش عيني ولا فكري كبعض الروايات.
اريد ان اقتنيها واقرأها اكثر من مرة
انصح بها

ودمتم بود
The novel succeeds the most, I think, in depicting a bleak world full of hearsay, rumour and confusion created by its inhabitants. People naturally create myths, stories and rumours as they struggle to interpret things beyond their control. Even Gjon's writing, though he strives for objectivity and truth, is full of knowledge gaps, conflicting symbols and confused feelings.

Many reviews stress that the "political" importance of the book, especially now that we've all been over-sensitised to Isla
Colin Baird
Read this a couple of years ago. Hugely enjoyed because of the story and unusual context and beliefs of middle ages Albania. The topic of the construction of a bridge appeals to my engineering background
A simple story, really, and not particularly long - I'm a fan of heavy tomes - but even so it's utterly captivating. One reviewer compared Kadare's work to the "magic realism" of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but I was left with a totally different feeling: Kadare is far more believable and although the novel is haunted by a sense of doom the author doesn't leave us without a gleam of hope. This book is insinuatingly meditative and clearly historical yet at the same time full of living detail. I stron ...more
Benjamin Shehu
Ismail Kadare does an amazing job of transferring the bleak atmosphere that is present in all of his works in this one too. This book takes the Albanian myth of masonic sacrifice, and turns it upside down, adds multiple dimensions to it, and through the experiences of Gjon(John) the priest, he manages to relate to an age long past ours, of an Albania with many feuding lords, and the Ottoman menace that in the end manages to spill blood upon the bridge.
bewitching, spell-binding and utterly compelling.
Dec 06, 2008 Adriana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in modern european lit
Recommended to Adriana by: found in a bookstore
Shelves: justread
This book is probably the best introduction to Ismail Kadare's work. The pace of the book is slow in the beginning, but quickly pick's up speed as the history of the bridge begins to unfold. Kadare uses the elements of a mystery novel's spooky ambiance to help keep the reader interested in why his characters unravel the myths and legends the bridge inspired their ancestors to tell.
I really like Kadare's interest in fables, and this complemented other books I've enjoyed by him. But I did feel like I was missing something here without a background in Albanian (or Balkan) history. Without that, it is just a perplexing-- but highly readable-- fable. I do recommend The File on H and the Dream Palace which can be enjoyed with minimal history of the region.
Bözsi Claussen
An interesting book -- I felt most keenly here the lack of my knowledge of the history of Albania insofar as I think the story resonates very much with historical events I am not so aware of. I liked the book though, and I think it works on a more general level as well as what I suspect is a very specific commentary on Albanian history.
Incredibly boring.. Loved _The File on H_ so I thought this would be good to try next -- not so much. Also, I understand that the narrator's socio-historical positioning had a lot to do with his interpretation of events... but there was some crazy problematic things being said that went beyond fear-of-impending-war/Ottoman-takeover.
Kind of boring, but a very quick read. It's an interesting story and it moves along, but I don't know, maybe I'm not so much into the fable style story. I think I'm more into character development than 14th century Albania. Maybe I'm being to harsh?
I was really looking forward to reading something by Kadare, but was disappointed by this book. I expected more out of his promised style of magical realism, but instead got a dreary book that failed to capture my imagination.
npr reccomendation 10/08

not a fan of this bok. set in 1377 Alabania. also found out a co-worker I can't stand, that this is her favorite author. kind of killed it for me as petty as THAT is!
Oct 17, 2007 Eli rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of East European literature
My first taste of this famous Albanian writer. He weaves a folk story around the times preceding the Turkish invasion of this European area to apply to the ever changing world of today.
wild, metaphoric piece. like the bridge itself there is so much moving beneath this book. i didnt always know what was going on, but like jazz or something it was always working on me
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Ismail Kadare (also spelled Kadaré) is an Albanian novelist and poet. He has been a leading literary figure in Albania since the 1960s. He focused on short stories until the publication of his first novel, The General of the Dead Army. In 1996 he became a lifetime member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of France. In 1992, he was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca; in 2005, he wo ...more
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