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Chronicle in Stone
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message 1: by Diane , Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane  | 12974 comments Start discussion here for Chronicle in Stone by Ismail Kadare.


message 2: by Diane , Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane  | 12974 comments About the Book (publisher's description)

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 inundate his city. Through the boy’s eyes, we see the terrors of World War II as he witnesses fascist invasions, allied bombings, partisan infighting, and the many faces of human cruelty—as well as the simple pleasures of life.

Evacuating to the countryside, he expects to find an ideal world full of extraordinary things, but discovers instead an archaic backwater where a severed arm becomes a talisman and deflowered girls mysteriously vanish. Woven between the chapters of the boy’s story are tantalizing fragments of the city’s history. As the devastation mounts, the fragments lose coherence, and we perceive firsthand how the violence of war destroys more than just buildings and bridges.

About the Author (excerpted from Britannica)

Ismail Kadare is an Albanian-born poet and novelist whose work explores the culture and history of his native country. His themes often draw heavily from his own life and experiences, including history, folklore, politics, and ethnicity. His fiction has elements of romanticism, realism, and surrealism.


Rosemarie | 3315 comments I knew very little about the history of Albania before reading this book, especially during World War 2. The city in the book was occupied, unoccupied, reoccupied a number of times by either Germany, Greece or Italy.
I really enjoyed this book because of the writing, the occasional magical realism, the atmosphere and especially the fact that the book was written from the point of view of a child. He described things the way he saw them as they occurred, at his level of understanding.


Laurie | 634 comments Rosemarie wrote: "I knew very little about the history of Albania before reading this book, especially during World War 2. The city in the book was occupied, unoccupied, reoccupied a number of times by either German..."

I am glad to see that you liked it. I plan on starting this in a few days and I look forward to it.


Laurie | 634 comments I was less enthralled by the viewpoint of a ten year old. Some of the very serious events seemed less serious since he didn't understand the implications. He certainly didn't understand that his beloved big plane was flying death and destruction to other cities just as his city was being bombed. It bothered me that he seemed fairly matter of fact about the deaths that occurred around him. Even the hanging of Isa, his friend's brother did not evoke much emotion.

The history of Albania in the war is also something I knew nothing about. I cannot imagine the chaos and confusion of being occupied by so many countries over and over.


Anastasia (anastasiaharris) | 4 comments I read this last year. His portrayal of strong women impressed me. He even used descriptions of women to describe the rooms in his home.


Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 17 comments I'm just starting Chronicle in Stone now, very last-minute of me, I know. I read Kadare's The Fall of the Stone City a couple of months ago, and I'm not sure if it was due to the translation or to the story itself, but I never really got into it. I hope this one will be different!


Rosemarie | 3315 comments This book is written from the point of view of a boy, so we see more of what happens then why it happens. At the same time as the war, he is also growing up and getting interested in girls, etc. I found it an engaging book.


message 9: by Suki (last edited Jul 16, 2018 03:29AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 17 comments I liked this book a lot. There was some real poetry in the beginning, where the boy narrating the story was talking about raindrops. I enjoyed seeing his life from his point of view. Most of the adult characters were somewhat formless, made up more of rumor and story than of flesh, as they would be seen through a child's eyes. It was harder to read after (view spoiler)


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