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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


The Albanian Affairs

Susana Fortes

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To purchase The Albanian Affairs

Title: The Albanian Affairs
Author: Susana Fortes
Genre: Novel
Written: 2003 (Eng. 2006)
Length: 179 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: The Albanian Affairs - US
El amante albanés - US
The Albanian Affairs - UK
The Albanian Affairs - Canada
The Albanian Affairs - India
El amante albanés - España
  • Spanish title: El amante albanés
  • Translated by Leland H. Chambers

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Our Assessment:

B+ : effective use of place and atmosphere

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
El Cultural . 4/12/2003 Santos Sanz Villanueva

  From the Reviews:
  • "El amante albanés resulta conmovedora y en apariencia este efecto se debe a una gran simplicidad narrativa. Pero es un engaño de los ojos. Si al salir de esa historia envolvente e intensa se medita un poco, enseguida se nota que surge de la mezcla con tino y fortuna de dos modelos narrativos, la novela psicologista y la de intriga. La autora raciona muy bien el suspense, uno de los mejores aciertos del libro. Las descripciones, bastante contenidas, son buenas, y el estilo está cuidado y evita el alarde retórico innecesario." - Santos Sanz Villanueva, El Cultural

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Susana Fortes sets The Albanian Affairs in Enver Hoxha's Albania as it becomes increasing isolated, and the oppressive local atmosphere and widespread paranoia make for an ideal backdrop to this story. It begins with a gunshot and a suspicious death, in the household of a leading Party functionary, Zanum Radjik. A hero of the Spanish Civil War, where he had led the Albanian Brigades against Franco, he had also brought his future wife back home from there with him. They had two sons, Viktor and Ismaíl, but the mother passed away when the children were still young.
       In childhood Viktor and Ismaíl were inseparable, but the sickly Ismaíl eventually couldn't quite keep up, and when the favoured -- because he was the stronger first-born -- Viktor is sent off to boarding school they began to drift apart, eventually becoming very different men.
       Zanum rose to become a very high government official -- but that in a state where almost no one is safe from suspicion, and where:

Anything can be twisted around in a moment, the most insignificant detail can be blown up, and then no one can stop it any longer.
       As one character notes:
We have built a country of necrophiles, of tomb seekers.
       When Viktor -- the favoured son who dutifully follows in his father's footsteps -- marries and brings his wife into the household the family dynamics get even more complicated. Even more so then once Ismaíl starts digging up the past, wondering what really happened to their mother .....
       Fortes builds the story up slowly (after that first gunshot) -- suggesting early on, however, exactly where this is headed:
     But no secret can be kept forever. It has to come out sometime, at least once. Even if that means only a single, unique time. Sooner or later. Although years have passed, perhaps decades.
       The tension builds nicely, the mystery unfolds well; it's a fairly straightforward (in its elliptical way) story -- atmospheric, and utilising the curious Albanian world (the politics, the paranoia, the honour code) well. A fine little novel.

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The Albanian Affairs: Reviews: Susana Fortes: Other books by Susana Fortes under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Spanish author Susana Fortes was born in 1959.

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© 2009-2011 the complete review

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