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Chronicle in Stone

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  1,574 Ratings  ·  149 Reviews
Masterful in its simplicity, Chronicle in Stone is a touching coming-of-age story and a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit. Surrounded by the magic of beautiful women and literature, a boy must endure the deprivations of war as he suffers the hardships of growing up. His sleepy country has just thrown off centuries of tyranny, but new waves of domination inu ...more
Hardcover, 301 pages
Published July 11th 2007 by Arcade Publishing (first published 1971)
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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
1st out of 116 books — 83 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Island of Worthy Boys by Connie Hertzberg MayoLife of Pi by Yann MartelThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan BradleyThe Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Adult Fiction With Child Protagonist
18th out of 98 books — 78 voters

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Community Reviews

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REVISED REVIEW! I was tired last night......

I loved this book. Why? Well, what I loved most was the writing style. I scarcely realized I was learning about the events occurring in Albania 1941-43!

The book description here at GR is practically nonexistent so I will explain a bit. Although fiction,this book is in fact about the author’s own experiences during the Second World War, when he was a child growing up in Gjirokastër, Albania. This is an ancient city near the Albanian Greek border. In 19
Stephen Hayes
Eleven years ago I was in Albania, and after being taken on a tour of the capital, Tirana, by a university student, Theofania, we sat down at a pavement cafe to rest and have something to drink. Theofania said that a man at the next table was Ismail Kadare, one of Albania's most famous writers. One of my recurring daydreams has been how nice it would be to sit at cafe tables having literary discussions, especially with famous authors. Tirana is a small enough town that one can see people doing t ...more
Sep 19, 2013 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I visited Gjirokaster in Albania in 1984 during the last year of the life of the country's dictator, Enver Hoxha. This town is the setting for "Chronicle in Stone" first published by Ismail Kadaré in Albanian in Tirana in 1971. It was also his birthplace in 1936 and that of Enver Hoxha in 1908. I can attest that the city is indeed, to quote Kadaré's words, " ... a stone carapace" inhabited by human flesh.

I did not realise until I read the book how many times the city had been occupied during WW
Dec 24, 2010 MV rated it it was amazing
Another amazing story from Kadare. The city of his birth is brought to life through a child's eyes during the various occupations and bombings that tormented the place during WWII. The most poetic prose and imaginative imagery highlight the story and make it one of the best I have ever read. The story overflows with beautiful, lovely, interesting characters and thoughts that could only come from a child's mind, so innocent and endearing that despite what is going on around him, he still knows wh ...more
Ghanem Abdullah

في روايته “قصة مدينة الحجر”، يحاول اسماعيل كاداريه أن يروي لنا شهادة تاريخية على لسان طفلٍ، عاش في مدينة “جيروكاسترا” الألبانية، وشهد فيها أصعب فتراتها التي تزامنت واندلاع الحرب العالمية الثانية، وتناوب الغزاة على احتلال ألبانيا، ثم طردهم أخيرًا على يد الثوار الألبان، ومن أعلامهم في هذه المرحلة الدكتاتور أنور خوجا.

يريد كاداريه لهذه الشهادة “الطفولية” أن تكون بريئة ومحايدة، ويمكن القول أنه استخدم هذه المدينة – وهي بالذات مسقط رأسه- ليعبر عن هوية الشعب الألباني، ومزاجه العام، واختار مدينته مسرحًا
Mar 30, 2011 Bennet rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels-stories
"It was a strange city, and seemed to have been cast up in the valley one winter's night like some prehistoric creature that was now clawing its way up the mountainside. Everything in the city was old and made of stone...It was hard to believe that, under this powerful carapace, the tender flesh of life survived and reproduced."

At its heart, a barely adolescent boy is narrating his way through a neighborhood of friends and relations, while life as they have known it for generations is being upen
Farhan Khalid
Sep 01, 2016 Farhan Khalid rated it liked it
Shelves: novel, surreal, european
It was hard to believe that under this powerful carapace the tender flesh of life survived and reproduced

Our neighborhood was, so to speak, allergic to change

A disturbing surprise was waiting for me in that old house

The money they earn is a loan from death

The book I lay nearby


A thin object on the devan

It was so strange…

Between two cardboard covers were noises, doors, howls, horses, people

All sided by side, presses tightly against one another

Decomposed into little black marks

The city seemed
Fatema Hassan , bahrain

قصة مدينة الحجر
للكاتب الألباني إسماعيل كاداريه
ترجمة د عفيف دمشقية

من ربوع الأدب البلقاني تطالعنا هذه المدينة الحجرية الرمادية محبوسة ( بإنسانها الشفاف بطموحاته البسيطة و عجالته و تمائمه و خوفه من إي تغيير قد يطيح بمنطقته ) سنجدها بين صفحات هذه الرواية مرصودة بكل ما أوتي قلم كاداريه من واقعية سحرية تخلق لك عالم مذهل ، كاداريه يعولم برصده هذا قضية بلاده في تلك الحقبة مؤمنًا إن بمقدور من خلال بوابة الأدب خلق الظاهرة الأدبية التي تمحور بلاده في صدر الذاكرة لكل قارئ ، هو يخرجها من قلب القارة الأورو
Terry Pearce
Oct 06, 2016 Terry Pearce rated it liked it
I wanted to love this more. The ideas and the character were marbled with genius, particularly some of the anthropomorphism. It made me think in moments of One Hundred Years of Solitude. But the language often bored me. It often lacked lyricism, and often seemed disjointed. Maybe it's a thing with translation -- this specific one or translation from this language. If the prose had sparkled, I could have fallen in love with this. Very interesting, in any case, but harder work than it might have b ...more

Me ha gustado mucho esta historia narrada desde la perspectiva del autor cuando era niño. Gracias a su narración he podido saber más de la guerra desde el punto de vista de los ciudadanos de un país pequeño acostumbrado desde sus origenes a invasiones extranjeras.

La forma de contarlo está llena de lirismo (a pesar del tema que trata). Me han gustado muchos pasajes del libro, os pongo uno de ellos donde se describe la ciudad: " ...ciudad asombrosa, donde se podía ir caminando y, de desearlo, alar
فهد الفهد
قصة مدينة الحجر

انتهيت منها قبل قليل، والمفترض أن أؤجل الكتابة عنها، حتى اكتب عن ثلاثة كتب سبقتها وتنتظر على مكتبي، ولكن سأكتب عنها، لأن هذه المراجعة ستكون قصيرة، أظن أن مدى حبي للكتاب وتأثري به ينعكس على حجم الأسطر التي سيتحول إليها عند المراجعة، وهذا الكتاب الذي حصل على نجمتين، لن يحصل على أسطر وفيرة لأنه ليس كادارياً، وكأن من كتب (الوحش) و(الحصار) رجل آخر !!! فالكتاب يبدو من خلال النبذة على غلافه الخلفي واعداً، مدينة ألبانية مائلة جداً بشكل عجائبي، ثم ماذا؟ لا شيء !! أحداث عادية يمكن أن تجدها
راضي النماصي
لا سبب لاقتحام عالم كاداريه، سوى أنه روائي "الأستاذ/ فهد الفهد" المفضل.
كرواية أولى، وبشهادة صديقنا بأنها "أضعف ماكتب".. أجدها متوسطة.
لو بنى شخصيات أقوى بجانب الطفل ودجدجو، لكانت بالفعل ملحمة.

تبقى جميلة.
Chronicle in Stone, first published in Albanian in 1971 and sixteen years later in English in a translation whose author remains unidentified, describes life in a small Albanian town during World War II. The mystery of the novel’s translation was elucidated for me through an Internet search, and its story is worth telling: translated by an Albanian émigré who lived in the States and who is now dead, Arshi Pipa, the book was published without the translator’s name because he had entered into a co ...more
Oct 21, 2013 Indeneri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
City in Stone is narrated by a child living in an Albanian town, under occupation. In an strange dreamy way we read about the he town as if it were a living being that moves and feels.

This book is unlike any other I have read in how it describes the environment. The protagonist has a very over active imagination. He imagines all things around him to be alive and with movement, houses, streets, the stone bridge, even the city is described as a large animal, and rain drops being caught and diverte
Apr 01, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it
World War II is about to start but life for a young boy in a small town in Albania is still a game. Yet, as the town falls to the Italians, the Greeks, then the Nazis, the boy grows up. Falling in love with unattainable women, seduced by magic and literature and finally forced to flee, his existence changes from marvellous, terrifying and extraordinary into a primitive world where the severed arm of a British airman becomes a talisman and girls vanish--possibly killed by their own fathers. Forgi ...more
Jan 08, 2012 Stephen rated it it was ok
Shelves: albania, 20th-century
CHRONICLE OF STONE was unlike the two prior books by Kadare that I had read--THE THREE ARCHED BRIDGE and THE PALACE OF DREAMS--and that was unfortunate. Though the first couple chapters of this World War II novel hinted at an Escher-like cityscape and a talking cistern, suggesting that this too would be a story of fantastical imagination, those magical elements quickly disappear along with the boy narrator, who never develops any real identity in the book. What we get instead is a cast of severa ...more
Youssef Azar
قصة مدينة الحجر، قصة مدينة ألبانية تعصف بها الحرب العالمية الثانية، و بين مد و جزر المتحاربين، تطفو على السطح بعض الصفات الإنسانية و الحالات التي تدعو إلى الحزن

أحداث الرواية في نصفها الأول تصيبك بنوع من الملل، لكن مع تقدم الأحداث تنغمس في الإيقاع البطيئ للأحداث و ترى بعين الطفل الذي لا أعرف إسمه، الذي تعمد الكاتب أن لا يذكره، و هي حيلة لكي تندمج مع الشخصية أكثر، حتى و إن كان طفلا

في النصف الأخر يبدأ الخط الدرامي في التصاعد و تتكشف بعض الأمور التي تظهر من جديد الإنسان بدون مكياج، كما هو..

كنت أظن أ
Mar 22, 2016 Dana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Cronică în piatră" este o scriere evocativă a anilor celui de-al doilea război mondial, dar şi o meditaţie asupra trecerii timpului oglindită în schimbările caracterului uman şi în cele ale mediului înconjurător.

Dincolo de caracterul istoric şi politic, dimensiunea cea mai interesantă a acestui roman o reprezintă frânturile autentice din viaţa locuitorilor din oraşul de la poalele munţilor, Gjirokastër. Deşi textul nu oferă indicii concrete cu privire la spaţiul real al întâmplărilor, discursul
Claudia Blanco
Aug 03, 2014 Claudia Blanco rated it it was amazing
Great pleasure to discover this fantastic Albanian writer. His metaphors are supreme, fresh and original.
A really wonderful and surprising book. I randomly happened to have gone to Albania and Gjirokaster for work and my colleague had read Broken April and was telling us about it. It turned out that we were in the town where Ismail Kadare was from so we toured his house and saw the famous room of the cistern (all renovated and not a trace of ancient memories left). In a gift shop I picked up this book and started reading and loved it immediately. It is both funny and sad and hints at the terrors of ...more
2.5 stars. A charming though often disturbing childhood account of an Albanian town's occupation in WWII. I couldn't wait to finish this book but for all the wrong reasons. For all the author's accolades and the rave reviews on Goodreads, aside from the shocking events in the closing chapters and the often lyrical characterisation of buildings, I just wasn't bowled over and had to really persevere with it. Normally I would set a book aside if I wasn't enjoying it but I did want to know the outco ...more
Jun 24, 2009 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: balkans
Largely anecdotal and written in blistering prose, this book is a brilliant tale of a young boy growing up in occupied Gjirokaster, Albania. We learn about bomb shelters beneath the town citadel, heavily perfumed Italian soldiers, the fleeting appearances of the Greeks, and a boy's love for an aerodrome. This book was beautifully written and I loved it.

Oh, one other thing. I think it reminded me a little bit of the movie Empire of the Sun--a young boy's unflagging optimism held against the larg
Himali Kothari
Oct 18, 2016 Himali Kothari rated it really liked it
The writer creates many detailed images and makes the landscape pop up from the pages. His favourite tool literary tool is personification. The river, his house, books, the streets, all come to life. In one instance, he describes the fortress where the boy along with the rest of the citizens seek refuge:
'The fortress was indeed very old. It had given birth to the city, and our houses resembled the citadel the way children look like their mothers. Over the centuries, the city had grown up a lot.'
Alice Lemon
Jul 11, 2016 Alice Lemon rated it liked it
A friend recently convinced me to read “Chronicle in Stone” by Ismail Kadare. It is a semi-biographical novel about Kadare’s childhood in Gjirokastër, Albania during the Second World War. The book was interesting in general, but my mind keeps drifting back to one passage, about a gender non-conforming person named Argjir Argjiri. The narrator spends too pages discussing Argjiri and his upcoming marriage as one of many troubles plaguing the town:

As if all this were not enough, something else ha
May 26, 2016 Sue rated it really liked it
Slow to start, for me, I wondered if I would like this book. In fact, I started listening to it several months ago and gave it up in favor of another book. I picked it up again last week, and when I had completed the first few chapters, I caught the tone and rhythm of the author's story. I became immersed in it.

A young boy, at least this young boy, in war is still a young boy. The whole story, with the exception of a few adult "newscasts" thrown in to give the reader some sense of the times seen
Apr 29, 2016 Holly rated it it was amazing
Good grief! I've had this book sitting on my book shelves for years. I'm SO glad I finally got around to reading this wonderful story about a young boy's experiences during World War II in the city of his childhood -- a city of stone. Albanian write Ismail Kadare demonstrates a marvelous capacity for getting inside the mind of his young narrator -- and while the book is purported to be semi-autobiographical, still, who remembers how they thought as a ten year-old? His narrator lies in bed imagin ...more
Mar 28, 2016 Kate rated it it was amazing
We are taken into an Albanian town that climbs the hills above the sea, somewhere in the 30s, that is peopled with such a range of characters, and the beliefs in curses, omens and witches. This small city has Muslims, Christians and others who have intermingled for centuries where one is judged by traditions and superstitions...where even the wearing of glasses is thought to be an ill omen as the wearer whats to see something other than what is.
The story is told from the eyes of a young boy who
Joan Kerr
Sep 29, 2014 Joan Kerr rated it it was amazing

Mane Voco's elder son Isa has done something unheard of – he has started wearing glasses.

"When they first told me, " Xhexho said, "I couldn't believe my ears. I got up, threw a scarf on my head and went to see Mane Voco. The poor man was taking it bravely, but the women of the house looked stunned, as if they'd been turned to stone. I wanted to ask them what was going on, but I just couldn't. How can you speak of something like that? Well, who should walk in in at that very moment? Isa, his glas
Jul 24, 2014 Steven rated it liked it
In short, you don't have too many books about Albania during WWII, so the subject matter and perspective were interesting. I liked the authenticity of the teen-aged protagonist, especially in how he personified the city and other inanimate objects (the airplane, for starters). I also liked the ho-hum description of the bombings (after the initial shock, I thought this was very realistic as a coping mechanism), the descriptions of the various changes of control of the city, and the misplaced prid ...more
Jul 28, 2014 Jacob rated it liked it
The story is really about how an eleven year old boy remains a young boy through a period where his town is occupied, abandoned, re-occupied, (repeat) during WWII. Kadare gets into the mind of the child where there isn't a lot of nuance, but there is a lot of unknown and mystery to the world. You get to experience how the interest and acceptance of mystery is drained through the experience of war.

The first few chapters had the hint of the fantastic, talking cisterns and the crones' unknown powe
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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
More about Ismail Kadare...

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“If an animal has to be sacrificed when a new bridge is built, what will it take to build a whole new world?” 41 likes
“I couldn't get to sleep. The book lay nearby. A thin object on the divan. So strange. Between two cardboard covers were noises, doors, howls, horses, people. All side by side, pressed tightly against one another. Boiled down to little black marks. Hair, eyes, voices, nails, legs, knocks on doors, walls, blood, beards, the sound of horseshoes, shouts. All docile, blindly obedient to the little black marks. The letters run in mad haste, now here, now there. The a's, f's, y's, k's all run. They gather together to create a horse or a hailstorm. They run again. Now they create a dagger, a night, a murder. Then streets, slamming doors, silence. Running and running. Never stopping.” 29 likes
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