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Spring Flowers, Spring Frost

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  796 ratings  ·  81 reviews
As spring arrives in the Albanian mountain town of B-, some strange things are emerging in the thaw. Bank robbers strike the National Bank. The ghastly Kanun, regulator of medieval Albania's blood vendettas, is dredged up from the shipwreck of history. And the ultra-explosive secrets of the state archives, rumoured to be buried in the area, are threatening to flood the ent ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 29th 2002 by Harvill Press (first published 2000)
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3.30  · 
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 ·  796 ratings  ·  81 reviews

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Vit Babenco
Spring Flowers, Spring Frost is a flat story and it is written badly… It is a series of non sequiturs becoming in the end a heap of trash.
The fact that the huge ship Titanic, with its deck lights and searchlights, with its roaring boilers and its cabin fires, with its freight of smiles, music, and champagne, with its women’s unshaven love nests, should have smashed into the guardian of the glacial realm now seemed to Mark to be the most natural thing in the world.

Those are the thoughts of the ma
Feb 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, fiction
So, first of all I'm happy to report that Romanians have a very good translation of the book, thanks to Marius Dobrescu. I understand the situation is not so good for the English version, which is translated from French, which is translated from Albanian. huh!

People say that in order to like this book you need a bit of patience. Actually I was hooked. Not from the first chapter, that's true, but from the second, which is actually a story that combines magical realism with folklore. The book was
Gumble's Yard
Story by the (at the time) surprise winner of the first International Booker prize.

Kadare is an Albanian – whose books were semi-tolerated by the Hoxha regime (as they were born in the same city) but who eventually went into exile in Paris (although after the Berlin wall fell and not long before the Albanian regime fell).

This book is translated from what is itself a French translation.

The book is a mix of narrative about Mark – an artist, interleaved with “Counter Chapters” – stories and legen
Megan Baxter
This may be the first book I've read by an Albanian writer. In some ways, it reminds me of Milan Kundera, but I like it more than I do Kundera's books. There isn't that pervasive detachment, the insistence that people cannot make connections under a fascist state. The setting, although not the specific country, is familiar, a state where surveillance could be anywhere, and people can disappear without warning.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy
Kitty with Curls
Jul 26, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2000s
Not my favorite Kadare; this struck me as less Kafkaesque than simply confusing & a little bit tired. But Kadare as a whole is so fascinating, & even my least favorite of his books was definitely worth reading. I'm always stunned by the way he can be so complex & so readable at the same time. It's like Marion Zimmer Bradley had a one-night stand with Kafka & then gave the baby to Calasso to raise.
Mar 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-list-books
I really enjoyed Spring Flowers, Spring Frost, until the final chapter. Until then it was a great combination of a day to day love story, ancient mythology, and a brand new society trying to find it's way after the end of an oppressive regime. The action takes place in a small town in Albania, unnamed in the old initialled style. Communism has departed, and the town must decide whether to globalise or revert to old traditions, which include the rather binding practice of blood feuds.

Until the l
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"...toate aceste ciudatenii ii aminteau de povestea fetei maritate cu un sarpe. Chipurile acestea, care azi ti se infatiseaza sub o masca, iar maine sub o alta, ca si cand ar fi actori pe scena, nu prevestesc nimic bun"...
Mythical and folktale motives make the skeleton around which Spring Flowers, Spring Frost, written between 1998 and 2000 in Tirana and Paris, is constructed. With a formal structure similar to that of Chronicle in Stone, this post-Communist novel alternates a regular chapter whose events take place nowadays with a “counter-chapter” narrating a fairytale or a myth. Thus, the snake found by a group of people in the first chapter reappears in “counter chapter one” in the tale of a girl married to a ...more
May 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I went looking for novels from countries I’d not read literature from before, and came up with this one. Kadare has won several international prizes, and been mooted as a Nobel laureate a number of times. Spring Flowers, Spring Frost is his eleventh book, and his entire oeuvre – of novels, at least – appears to have been translated into English. Mark Gurabardhi is an artist in the provincial town of B—– and, well, things happen. Beginning with a bank robbery. People also tell each other stori ...more
Tarah Luke
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-reads
I read an English translation. I am sure that this is a good book... but I think there is a lot lost in translation which kind of ruins it.
Jose Carlos
Frías flores de marzo es un texto difícil, al lector le cuesta ir entrando en él. Algunos críticos lo han relacionado, tal vez por su complejidad, con ciertas fases de Spiritus, pero esta novela se aleja en algunos aspectos de aquello, y aporta otros recursos no exentos de riesgo y, en algunos casos, quizás un riesgo que no ha resultado. De ahí, que sea una de las obras que menos me transmite de su autor, y que resulta difícil desentrañarla, con una lectura como atascada en la que Kadaré no term ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2018
This is a book about a passive character (Mark) in a society torn by present reality and past traditions. It feels extremely atmospheric - the character is the lens through which we see Tirana. And what we see is an endless circle of repercussions and suspicions (represented by the discussion of the kanun coming back and the Book of the Blood possibly being found again), and a society full of tension because of that.

I also liked how truth is seemingly mutable:

In the early days of the new era, pe
Manea Ionut
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: curiosity
Acţiunea romanului Florile îngheţate din martie se desfăşoară în Albania contemporană şi descrie istoria lui Marku Gurabardhi, un artist care se străduieşte să trăiască şi să lucreze, după căderea regimului comunist.

Romanul lui Kadare este structurat pe opoziţii echilibrate, între mişcare şi stază, între somn şi veghe. Peste tot în roman sunt semne ale renaşterii şi peste tot aceste semne sunt echilibrate cu prevestiri de rău augur referitoare la moartea ritualică, reprezentată în modul cel mai
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001
3.5 stars really. This is the third book I have read by Kadare, and although this isn't my favorite by him, I did enjoy it.
Communism has left Albania and the Albanians are trying to figure out how to live their lives. Old state secrets, Albanian legends and a clandestine love affair are all apart of this novel. I especially enjoyed the legends, and kind of wished that the book had centered around legends.
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sunt foarte multe aspecte interesante în ”Florile înghețate din martie” și, chiar dacă lectura nu a fost una perfectă, având și momente în care a mai lâncezit, observ acum că ceea ce rămâne întotdeauna după o carte de Kadare este o anume esență, idei pe care le rumeg în continuare, elemente care mă entuziasmează mai multă vreme, și nu pot decât să-l apreciez și mai mult pe autor datorită acestui efect neprevăzut al scrierilor sale.

Povestea din ”Florile înghețate din martie” se desfășoară la scur
Just because a book is part of the 1001 book list, doesn't guarantee that it will be a good read. Kadare's 'Spring Flowers, Spring Frost' is testament to that. Despite the gushing reviews and the generous comparisons to Gogol, Kafka and Orwell, I found this story to be extremely confusing. The aim of the novel was always a little bit out of my reach. I didn't quite understand the structure of the 'chapters' and 'counter-chapters'. Maybe I didn't try hard enough to make sense of it all, but I was ...more
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ismail Kadare is Albania's best-known writer. Quite a statement of I don't recall any others in my extensive library! This is a very strange piece of fiction from the former North Korea of the Balkans...where dictator, Enver Hoxha ruled for decades...& allowed his 'prisoners' to watch Norman Wisdom films portraying the irrepresible little man struggling manfully against the reactionary forces of malign capitalism! There is little here of such honest banality. It's all opaque ...more
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first Kadare that I read was the political thriller The Successor, which I liked but did not fall in love with. mainly because I felt that an important element of the story was missing. In these cases I tend to blame the translation.

In contrast Spring Flower, Spring Frost is much more satisfying and bizarre in places as well. If The Successor was a dour adult then this novel is the teenager that has has one trip too many. Yet both feature politics and quite heavily.

Albania is now a democrati
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ce n'est pas un livre facile à livre, court mais compact, cette histoire qui se déroule dans un petit village d'Albanie secoué par les remous des changements de pouvoir et des troubles dans les pays voisins, établi un parallèle troublant entre la vie des gens guidés par les traditions et ceux guidés par une raison d'état; le tout menant à une série d'actions en cascade n'ayant plus aucun 'sens' pour ceux qui les effectuent. L'Albanie prise entre une Histoire houleuse et les prémices d'une 'moder ...more
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
Even as the meaning became less obvious, this short novel grew on me. Albania is a mess: thrust blinking into the harsh daylight of capitalism with designer clothes, executives, smart hair salons, new fashions and feminine bodily hair removal, it can't quite let go of the dark suspiciousness from its Communist dictatorship days or even a revival of "kanun", the historic code of honour for settling blood feuds. This cultural clash is embodied in Mark, a painter, struggling to complete a nude port ...more
Oct 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Am citit această carte acum câteva săptămâni și a fost ceva spontan: pur și simplu aveam o listă de cărți și am ales la întâmplare acest roman. După cum aveam să aflu ulterior, Florile înghețate din martie nu este privit ca cel mai bun roman al său și sunt curioasă să citesc și altceva scris de acest autor albanez ca să (...)
Continuarea recenziei pe blog:
Apr 18, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I guess I'll never know for sure, but I had the distinct feeling that this book suffered from a bad translation. The subject matter was interesting but the prose was a bit clumsy, which prevented me from really getting into it.

UPDATED: OK, I guess I will know. I found out later that this was translated from the Albanian into French and then from the French into English. I don't have to speak either of those languages to know that that can't make for a good translation.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"More is less" in acest caz: prea multe simboluri si povesti, paralele si idei care esueaza sa conduca spre o concluzie unitara. Daca Ismail Kadare a reusit sa ma impresioneze cu "Palatul viselor", "Florile inghetate din martie" imi pare o incercare fortata, un "contraroman", dandu-mi senzatia ca citesc un prim draft a ceea ce ar fi putut fi o creatie decenta.
Bob Newman
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mystery and History Surface after the Fall

Some years ago, a Swedish member of the Nobel Prize committee relieved himself of the view that Americans wouldn't be winning the Nobel Prize in Literature because they were, well, too American. It's a no-doubt primitive country addicted to pop culture (gasp !) and not given often to publishing the works of those writers admired by the Nobel Prize committee members (like himself). I was glad to read this gentleman's comments because it cleared up a myste
Kelly ...
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
When searching for a book to read set in Albania Kadare's name came up many times and though I was more interested in a few of his other novels this was the only one that my small town library had on its shelves, so this was the one. I wish it had been another as I found this book a bit dull and found the structure choppy and disconnected.

The book's narrator is an artist named Mark, but every other chapter is a "Counter Chapter" which are stories and legends that come into Mark's mind. I found i
This book ended up being so much more interesting than I expected, though certainly I assumed it would be "good" since it is on the 1001 list.

This is the first book I've read by an Albanian author. Apparently, all of his books have initially been translated in to French and then to English, I assume because he lives in France.

It is the sort of book that led me to many digressions throughout, such as looking more closely at the map of Albania and the Strait of Otranto. Such as reading about blo
Daniel Hagedorn
Maybe reading books too, are about places and moments in time, and if so, I began this book in the town of Koper, Slovenia and finished in the morning while staying in Split, Croatia. With ten pages to go, my wife and I walked down the long drive to the streets that turned this way and that, until we found a place for a cappuccino. Maybe that last book I read was a kind of parable, then this too might be considered an allegory, though as I walked the old streets that looked towards the new, ther ...more
Florin Purluca
Ce pot să spun? Când vrei să faci lucruri deosebite uneori se întâmplă s-o dai în bară. Excesul de mituri și tradiții a tras narațiunea în jos. Asta cred că se întâmplă în momentul în care scrii despre un subiect care a marcat o națiune întreagă. Exact cum e cazul comunismului din România. Pentru cine a trăit vremurile acelea pe viu, nu trebuie decât să expui câteva idei și declicul se produce în mintea cititorului. Dar dacă cititorul e străin de subiect, atunci "Florile..." devine doar o altă c ...more
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To me, this novel is the Albanian version of "The more things change, the more they stay the same". Parallel storylines paint the picture of endless political corruption and life while accustomed to disappointment. I realised midway through this Kafkaesque tale, that I know nothing about Albania. So, I did some superficial research and it definitely gave me some elemental context from which I could glean minimal understanding of the references to historical figures and cultural myths. Overall, I ...more
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Reading 1001: Spring Flowers, Spring Frost by Kundare 2 6 Aug 31, 2018 05:58PM  

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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