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The Accursed Mountains: Journeys in Albania
     

The Accursed Mountains: Journeys in Albania

by Robert Carver
 

Travelling by bus, on foot, by mule and horse, staying with Albanians in their houses and crumbling Stalinist tower blocks, Robert Carver meets Vlach shepherds and village intellectuals, ex-Communist Special Forces officers and juvenile heroin smugglers, missionaries with jeeps and light planes, and ex-prisoners of Enver Hoxha who have spent 45 years in the

Overview

Travelling by bus, on foot, by mule and horse, staying with Albanians in their houses and crumbling Stalinist tower blocks, Robert Carver meets Vlach shepherds and village intellectuals, ex-Communist Special Forces officers and juvenile heroin smugglers, missionaries with jeeps and light planes, and ex-prisoners of Enver Hoxha who have spent 45 years in the Albanian gulag. In the remote villages of the Accursed Mountains of the far north, he is the first Briton seen since World War II, when Intelligence officers were parachuted in to help fight the German occupiers. On his journey to Lake Gashit, high above the snowline on the Serb-Montenegrin border, Carver survives murder attempts and suicidal bus rides. He sees villages last visited by outsiders in 1933, which had effectively been hermetically sealed off from the rest of the world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"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 occupations--and 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. (June)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780006551744
Publisher:
HarperCollins UK
Publication date:
08/28/1999
Pages:
350
Product dimensions:
5.07(w) x 7.78(h) x 0.90(d)

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