The author shares his 1996 exploration of remote Albanian villages during the brief interlude between communism and anarchy
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"The Accursed Mountains" have earned their sinister moniker in recent weeks. Across this formidable alpine border tens of thousands of refugees have straggled into Albania after being expelled from their homes in neighboring Kosovo. That the isolated villages of northern Albania should represent refuge at all is a superb irony, as Carver makes clear: Albania, long the poorest country in Europe, descended into near anarchy in 1997 when a pyramid scheme collapsed. Carver, a British journalist sporting a well-worn passport, visited Albania in 1996. His stunning account of his adventures is both enlightening and tragic. In the towns of southern Albania, Carver describes the pervasive despair of communities stripped of their intellectuals and leaders during the Communist rule of Enver Hoxha. Here, newly found democracy is a fraud and, by local standards, "cynicism [is] intelligence, fairness stupidity." The foreigner is seen firstly as a free meal ticket and secondly as a potential patron. But as Carver ventures further north, a deeper, more conservative mentality emerges, and he finds himself in an archaic, feudal world of tribal honor and responsibility. In the inhospitable mountain towns of Kukes, Bajram Curri and Valbona, banditry and vendetta killings are the main occupationsAand to step outside at dark without the accompaniment of a local or a gun is to invite death. It's into this remote corner of Europe, bloodied by innumerable family feuds, that the Kosovars have fled. Without the condescension common to Western observers of the Balkans, Carver offers timely and devastatingly poignant insight into a people and their culture. B&w photos.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
With the U.S. embroiled in a Balkan conflict on behalf of the besieged Albanians in Kosovo, this travel narrative is a timely as well as an engrossing experience. In 1996, Carver, a BBC reporter, traveled throughout Albania, including the remote, mountainous region where the borders of Serbia, Montenegro, and Albania converge. It was a stimulating but frequently chilling experience. Carver conveys eloquently the sense of a tribal society constantly operating on the edge of violence. Preteen shepherd boys carry guns without a hint of self-consciousness. Brigands make travel in rural areas a life-threatening gamble. Signs of the repressive Communist past are everywhere, yet Carver also encounters stirring signs of hope for an open, prosperous society. Of course, Carver traveled and wrote before the current explosion, but he provides us with immensely valuable insight into the culture of a volatile and fiercely independent people and the land they inhabit. Jay Freeman
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Book Description TRAFALGAR SQUARE. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0719554594 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1217584
Book Description TRAFALGAR SQUARE, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110719554594