First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
From Man Booker International Prize winner Ismail Kadare comes a dizzying psychological thriller of twisted passions, dual identities, and political subterfuge. Set against the tumultuous backdrop of the war in the Balkans, The Accident closely documents an affair between two young lovers.
On a rainy morning in Vienna, a taxi pulls onto the autobahn only to crash into the median barrier moments later, hurling its two passengers – a man and a woman – from the backseat as it spins through the air. The driver cannot explain why he lost control; he only says that the mysterious couple seemed to be about to kiss.
As the investigation into their deaths deepens, a lonely researcher will uncover a mutually destructive relationship that blurs the line between fact and fiction, fear and desire, and love and fixation over the course of twelve years. An alluring mixture of vivid hallucination and cold reality, The Accident is a fever dream of a novel that marks a bold and fascinating departure from Kadare’s previous works.
We are done with another work week! The weekend is waving! This will be the last weekend before I return to being a part of the corporate world; I have been unemployed since February of this year. I can’t help but feel anxious and excited at the same time. I will be meeting new people and I will also be wearing my working face. More importantly, I am looking forward to learning more knowledge. I will start working at a bank, the first time I am going to be part of the said industry. But before I resume working, I am going to spend the weekend wisely. Anyway, I hope you all had a great end to the week. I hope you get to rest and relax this week. More importantly, I hope that everyone is doing well, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Before finally diving into the weekend, let me close this week with a First Impression Friday update. I am now currently in the midst of a literary journey across Europe. This journey has, so far, taken me to Sweden, France, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Spain. The experience, as always, is scintillating although, at times, it is mind-boggling. But then again, this uncertainty is what makes literature interesting. Just like what I have done in March and April, I have been alternating new-to-me writers and not-so-new-to-me writers. Earlier today, I finished my first novel by Spanish writer Javier Marias, Berta Isla. It was an interesting book about the struggles of a spy’s wife. After completing the book, I immediately commenced my reading journey which took me to the Balkan peninsula through Ismail Kadare’s The Accident.
The Accident is my second novel by the highly controversial but prolific Albanian writer; The General of the dead Army was part of my 2019 reading journey. First published in Albanian in 2008, the story commenced with the titular accident. A taxi on the way to the airport, carrying two Albanian émigrés figured in an accident on the airport autobahn’s kilometer marker 17. The passengers died on the spot while the driver was seriously injured. Interviewed after fully recovering, the driver mentioned that the last thing he saw his passengers do was kiss. At first, there was nothing unusual about the accident. Accidents happen every day. The passengers, however, were not ordinary.
Upon further inspection, records showed that the man, eventually revealed to be Besfort Y, was an analyst working for the Council of Europe on western Balkan affairs. His partner, Rovena, on the other hand, was an intern at the Archaeological Institute of Vienna. They spent the weekend in Vienna before tragedy struck. Because of the nature of their works, their sudden demise attracted the interest of Serbian and Montenegrin intelligence. Eventually, the Albanian intelligence also tried to conduct their own investigation. Things were certainly not adding up. Was it murder? Was it an accident? There were too many factors that needed to be considered before coming up with a conclusion.
An anonymous researcher who I surmise was working for the Albanian government, tried to go to the files. After going through telephone conversations and letters, what he unraveled was not an ideal relationship. In one cryptic phone conversation, Rovena confided to her friend Shpresa that Rovena felt like Besfort was treating him like a prostitute. From all of these, I can glean that there are quite a lot of mysteries in need of resolution. What I have captured, so far, were from the novel’s first thirty pages alone. I can only begin to imagine the wealth of information the researcher has unearthed. However, what is more important is how these details, episodes, images, letters, and snatches of conversation were woven together to come up with a cohesive piece.
Because of what I know of Kadare, I do see the novel having some political elements. This will make it more interesting. I am, however, a little concerned with the storytelling. There is an omniscient narrator that told the story. There is something he knew but was not letting up. On another note, I can’t wait to obtain clues to solving the many mysteries in the story. While I am having concerns with the execution, I find the book readable, thankfully. With this being said, I hope to finish the book over the weekend. It does seem like a slender read. How about you fellow reader? What book or books are you taking with you for the weekend? I hope you get to enjoy them. For now, happy weekend! And as always, happy reading and take care!