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Elegy for Kosovo: Stories

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  295 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
June 28, 1389: six hundred years before Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic called for a new massacre in Kosovo, there took place, on the Field of the Blackbirds, a battle shrouded in legend. A coalition of Serbs, Albanian Catholics, Bosnians, and Rumanians confronted and were defeated by the Ottoman army of Sultan Murad. This battle became the centerpiece of Serbian nationa ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published May 10th 2000 by Arcade Publishing (first published 1998)
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The Trigger by Tim ButcherThe Bridge on the Drina by Ivo AndrićBlack Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca WestMilena by Olja KnezevicBalkan Ghosts by Robert D. Kaplan
The Balkans
92nd out of 130 books — 118 voters
Chronicle in Stone by Ismail KadareLibri i bardhe by Enkelejd LamajBroken April by Ismail KadareThe General of the Dead Army by Ismail KadareDoruntine by Ismail Kadare
Albanian Books
63rd out of 108 books — 82 voters

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Community Reviews

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This short and devastating novel of the year 1389 in the region of the Balkan Peninsula is in the form of three stories. A great battle commenced in late June of 1389 in which the Serbs, Bosnians, Croats, Albanian and Hungarian troops were routed by the Turks. The Turkish Sultan, Murad I, and his eldest son were believed to be murdered by their own troops because of a difference in opinion about the direction of the empire. Murad’s blood was spilled on that plain in Kosovo, nourishing the ancien ...more
Jun 16, 2016 Fahad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
Three Elegies For Kosovo

كنت قد قرأت كل ما ترجم لإسماعيل كاداريه، الداهية الألباني العجوز، أفضل من يكتب الرواية الأسطورية، وخاصة أساطير الشعوب البلقانية المتناحرة، المحزن أنه على عظمة كاداريه وأهمية أدبه إلا أن أكثر من نصف أعماله لم يترجم، هذا ما دفعني للحصول على الترجمات الإنجليزية لما بقي من أعماله، ومواصلة القراءة له مفتتحاً بهذه القصص الثلاث الصغيرة.

في سنة 1989 م وعلى وقع مرور ستة قرون على الهزيمة الكبيرة التي منيت بها الشعوب البلقانية من صرب وكروات وألبان ومولدافيين وولاشيين وهنغاريين أمام
Jun 06, 2015 Eadweard rated it really liked it
"The minstrels had already begun to compose their songs, each in his own language. They resembled the ancient songs; even the words were not that different. The Serbian elders chanted: “Oh, the Albanians are preparing to attack!” and the Albanian lahuta minstrels sang: “Men, to arms! The pernicious Serb is upon us!“

“Are you out of your minds or are you making fools of us?” the people asked. “The Turks are marching on us, and you are singing the same old songs — The Serbs are attacking, the Alban
This is not your usual novel which makes it difficult to review. It consists of three stories that are part of the same, bigger picture but which are written in different styles and from a different view point. There really isn't a plot, either, or main characters. I guess one could say that the characters are the Balkan countries and the main one is Kosovo. As a short book it was well worth a read.

In a funny way the first part was difficult for me because I kept hearing a Finnish military march
Billy O'Callaghan
Sep 01, 2015 Billy O'Callaghan rated it really liked it
Shelves: around-the-world
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Filip Đukić
Mala knjižica svega 68 stranica. Kadare se navodi kao jedan od najboljih albanskih književnika (poznat kao i odličan prevoditelj hr- alb). Tri elegije

Stari rat - 3/5 izostao opis Kosovske bitke koju sam nekako očekivao - više se bavi pitanjima turskih previranja između princa Bajazita (ubio sultana Murata I. ?!?) - reminiscencija sultanova sna / pitanje njegove smrti > htio prebaciti gl. osmanski gradu u Eu...falila nekakva katarza nešto više za veću ocjenu

Velika gospođa - 4/5 najbolja priča.
Jul 11, 2014 Keith rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-translation, 2014
In The Sleepwalkers Christopher Clark details the roots and shadows of various Balkan ideologies. The case of Serbia, who armed and sponsored the assassins of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, is instructive. There were two Balkan Wars before the disaster of 1914. As the Ottoman Empire retreated the formerly subject states of the Balkans agitated for their freedom from both Istanbul and Vienna. Serbia’s goal was to reconstitute the medieval Serbian kingdom under the banner of “Greater Serbia.” Al ...more
Nov 11, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2008
In 1389, the Field of Blackbirds (Kosovo Field) saw a battle between the Christian army made up of Serbs, Bosnians, Albanians and Romanians and the Ottoman army led by Sultan Mourad. On the eve of battle the Serb military minstrels sang, “Rise, O Serbs, the Albanians are seizing Kosovo” and the Albanian minstrels sang, “Rise, O Albanians! Kosovo is falling to the pernicious Serb!”. Though it had nothing to do with the impending fight with the Ottomans it was the only song each knew. Even when th ...more
Mikael Kuoppala
Jun 23, 2013 Mikael Kuoppala rated it really liked it
Ismail Kadaré has written a beautiful collection of three interconnected stories about a 14th century conflict in The Balkan Peninsula. Kaderé makes an analogy between that battle between the tribes and the Balkan war of the 1990's. Those events are indeed connected, as the historical battle was present in the war rhetoric of Slobodan Milosevic as a part of his justification for his ethnic cleansing campaign.

The three tales are all about the conflict, each from the point of view of a different p
This short book by one of Albania's leading writers is a curious lament about the seemingly endless discord in the Balkans.

The Battle of Kosovo Polje (1389) is the focus for this piece. Even when faced with a common enemy, the Ottoman Turks, the 14th century Albanians and Serbs find it hard, if not impossible, to forget their age old enmity. This is the message of Kadare's slim volume.

Beautifully written, this work clearly exposes the author's fears about the region in which he was born. Otherw
Dominic Carrillo
Jun 04, 2016 Dominic Carrillo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerful, short book that resonates even more if you're familiar with the history and culture of the Balkans.
Jul 13, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it
A poignant little book that looks at the bloody events in the Balkans through the lens of the Field of Blackbirds, the infamous 14th century battle with the Turks that the Serbs lost but, strangely enough, celebrate every year. These are 3 short vignettes each focusing on a different aspect of how that battle has affected the Balkans and its history. The first is the actual battle. As the Serbs move to the fight, they bring along their minstrels because "Those minstrels have always been the darl ...more
Feb 09, 2014 Simon rated it really liked it
There is a lot of blood in Kadare's novella, both literal and metaphorical and all befitting to the Kosovan story. Awash with scorn for interpretations of Balkan politics, even to the point of rejection of the name Balkan itself, 'And so without a common name, nut with a name bestowed upon them by the enemy, they marched to battle and defeat', Kadare uses the metaphor of blood for advocacy and interpretation, 'Blood flows one way in life and another way in song, and one never knows which flow is ...more
Shawn Thrasher
Jan 30, 2015 Shawn Thrasher rated it liked it
My trusty dictionary (.com) defines elegy as: "a mournful, melancholy, or plaintive poem, especially a funeral song or a lament for the dead." While not a poem in the traditional sense, Elegy for Kosovo - really three connected short stories - reads like an epic lay. That's fitting, since the middle story is about war minstrels brought along to the famous battle of Kosovo in 1389 to sing songs of victory, and how even in defeat they can't shake away their songs of war. This is indeed a mournful ...more
Jul 06, 2014 Kartik rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was too brief to really have any message. The first story recounts the battle and the buildup to it. This was probably my favorite part. It had a nice semi fantasy feel, but in a medieval setting. It was a nice approximation of what the Christian peoples of the Balkans must have felt about each other, and the Turks.

I know the book was not meant to be historically accurate, but the fact that the animosities of the Balkan peoples amongst themselves was an important part of the story mad
D Dimov
Apr 08, 2016 D Dimov rated it liked it
Shelves: albania
Като видях заглавието очаквах да чета за съвременните косовски проблеми, при това с едностранчива пропаганда. Всъщност тук става дума за събитията около битката при Косово поле от 1389 година. Положителното е, че авторът, макар страната му да участва в активен конфликт със Сърбия именно за Косово, не си позволява да говори негативи за сърбите, а даже напротив.

Но въпреки че ясно става дума за художествен разказ, имам сериозен проблем със споменаването на Цетине, София и Скопие като столици в годи
Jul 12, 2015 Heli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lainasin tämän kirjan lähinnä kannen perusteella. Hehkuvanpunaisista verikukista saattoi päätellä, että jotain sotaan liittyvää on tulossa. No niin olikin: kolme surulaulua käsittelevät osmaniarmeijan hyökkäystä Balkaniin 1300-luvun lopulla. Ja mistä näkökulmista! Ääneen pääsevät niin rapsodit (runonlaulajat) kuin sulttaanin veri.

Luulen, että ymmärrän Balkanin niemimaan vuosisatoja jatkunutta kuohuntaa tämän luettuani vähän paremmin. Taiston kentille vuotanut veri ei unohda: "jo muutama pisara v
Daniel Simmons
"He knows how to curse because he is a minstrel," said a man in a tattered tunic. "It is his trade, both to curse and to exalt." [p. 47]

In this slim novella, Kadaré reimagines the plains of Kosovo in June 1389, when an assembled army of Serbs, Croats, Albanians, Romanians, and Bosnians faced the armies of the Ottoman Sultan and were mercilessly crushed. This historical event provides a frame for a beautifully written (but altogether too short) folktale-like examination of the atavistic hatreds a
May 07, 2016 Keval rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always thought the battle over Kosovo arose from the battle between the Serbs and Ottomans in 1389 -- at least from what I had read until now. But Kadare's book points out it was a coalition that faced the Ottomans, and the Albanians and Serbs were even on the same side. But alas, their historical animosity was greater than their shared position on a foreign enemy. But that's politics, isn't it? We're friends so long as we have a common enemy.

I enjoyed reading this slim volume, though I wis
Faizah Roslaini
Well known for his quote, ‘Dictatorship and authentic literature are incompatible…..The writer is the natural enemy of dictatorship’, the inaugural Man Booker International winner, explores the complexities of ethnic identities of southern Balkans. Hundreds of years before the Slobodan Milosevic campaign’s of ethnic cleansing, murdering thousands of Albanians, Bosnians and Croatians, the plain of Kosovo witnessed a brief unification of these different ethnics - the Christian army led by Prince L ...more
I find myself at a loss as to how to accurately rate this book. On the one hand, I found it interesting because I'm currently living and working in Albania. On the other hand, that might be the only reason I found it interesting, and that's not much of a recommendation to give the world at large, the majority of whom are not currently living and working in Albania.

The real issue, having now read two of his books, is that I don't really enjoy the way Kadare structures his novels. I appreciate hi
Evyta Ar
Jul 24, 2013 Evyta Ar rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
nyerah! awalnya tertarik sekali dengan judul dan sinopsisnya, apalagi ini novel sejarah kan... baca pengantarnya pun cukup menarik, menjanjikan, bikin ga sabar pengen baca kisahnya. eh...pas baca kisahnya, ga ngerti...ntah bagaimana ceritanya ini. naratif sekali, ga bisa dinikmati. mending baca buku sejarah textbook langsung aja :P

saya cuma baca sampai 2/3 bagian, sisa 1/3 lagi ga saya lanjutkan. apa karena sebuah terjemahan? padahal penulisnya salah satu kandidat peraih hadiah nobel sastra bebe
Apr 21, 2013 mm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As it says on the back of the book:
'In three short narratives Kadare shows how legends of betrayal and defeat simmered in European civilization for six hundred years, culminating in the agony of one tiny population at the end of the twentieth century.'

Serbs, Bosnians, Albanians, Romanians confront an Ottoman army -- the battle, the intrigue, the escape.

I first discovered Kadare with The Palace of Dreams and he has become one of my favourite writers. There is a style of less that I enjoy.
Feb 10, 2016 tsun rated it it was amazing
sublime mythopoeia
Margaret Pinard
Jul 31, 2007 Margaret Pinard rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers interested in epics and tales, and those who know something about the conflict in Kosovo
Not knowing much about the history, recent or ancient, of Kosovo and the region, detracted from what I got out of the book. If I had known more, I think I would have understood more of the veiled references that were made. As it was, the language was entrancing, the epic-ness sad and fateful, and it was a good book to make one muse about history and grudges and breaking the cycle of ill will...
Faaqih Irfan
Jan 07, 2013 Faaqih Irfan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sebuah buku yang menyingkap di balik aksi Kesultanan Utsmaniyah dalam melakukan ekspansi ke Kosovo. Banyak intrik yang berujung pada pembunuhan sultan. Kadare menuliskannya dengan nada satir dan getir. Pada akhirnya, kita tahu Kosovo dari dulu sampai sekarang tidak pernah lepas dari konflik.
Jul 28, 2015 Beatrice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: albania
I was only planning to read one book about Albania, not three in a week however Ismail Kadare is such a good writer that I couldn't stop.

Dec 16, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it
A quick vignette of a troubled region I'm just starting to explore. I will definitely be looking into his other writings.
Mirëdon Fusha
Oct 27, 2012 Mirëdon Fusha rated it did not like it
I haven't got the time for obscure riddles of anyone...even if he may be Ismail Kadare...and who the bleep is he?!
Diamant Zatriqi
it is nice..books ..told something for people of kosova and war
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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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“Can one move an empire as if it were a house?” 18 likes
“This is how things come to pass in the world,' one of the princes is supposed to have said. 'Blood flows one way in life and another way in song, and one never knows which flow is the right one.” 9 likes
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