Ebook Review -Dead Dogs By Chris Barraclough. A Dark Story About Honour Killing In Albania.

A story for young adults and adults based on the weird concept of Honour Killing (Blood feuds) in contemporary Albania.

I have just finished reading this dark and very dense tale of what happens to a family recently arrived in a small Albanian town when one of them inadvertently kills the son of their neighbour.

Here is how it is described in Smashwords:

Long listed for the Dylan Thomas/Sony Reader Award 2010, Dead Dogs is a darkly humorous tale from award-winning author [UK Authors Prize 2010] Chris Barraclough.

Mikael’s relocation to Albania becomes a life imprisonment, after his cousin kills a neighbouring boy. Victim of a Blood Feud, Mikael finds himself hunted by the enraged family who are desperate for revenge.

You probably do not know much about this curious law in Albania, called Gjakmarrja (Yes, I have no idea how you pronounce it either), which basically says, that if someone kills one of your family, for whatever reason, you have a legal right to merrily kill all male members of the killer’s family, except when they are in their own land or house. In other words, if they leave their property, you have an absolute right to shoot them dead, and the law can do nothing to you. And as I said, this “sentence”  extends to all male members of the family of the killer, including any male children, whatever their ages.

Chris Barraclough has written a story around this extraordinary situation, and writes it through the eyes of a young boy who finds himself in this situation when his male cousin kills one of the sons of their neighbour in a bar fight. This kid can wander around his house with his father, and even go out into the garden, but can not go further, without a very real risk of being killed by the infuriated male members of the dead young man.

Barraclough shows us the claustrophobic atmosphere of this awful situation remarkably well in the way he writes this story, and it is all too easy to identify with his narrator as he struggles to come to terms with this situation.

Basically, he and his father are prisoners for life in their home is the situation, and the hopelessness of this situation is well described in this ebook What made it even stronger for me was the fact that his mother and female cousin are both free to come and go as they wish, as this barbaric idea only applies to male members of the family.

Interwoven with this main plot line is another story, that of the kid’s Grandfather and what he had done in Russia before coming back to his house in Albania – Had he murdered someone there, and then had he (the Grandfather) murdered someone in the village as well? So there is a sort of long running situation of suspicion about this family in the village.

I shan’t give away what happened in the end, or how the various characters interact in this story, as that would spoil it for you, but I will say that I enjoyed reading it a lot, found the characters very believable – which given the strange way of thinking when Honour Killing is regarded as a normal and good thing to do, is quite a trick.

I have read another ebook by Chris Barraclough, which I also enjoyed and reviewed here (link below), but this ebook is a very different bit of story telling indeed. He is obviously a writer with a wide range of capabilities.

Whilst this whole ebook is about the concept of Honour Killing, he at no time actually sits down and ponders the merits and morality of this weird concept , but makes the entire ebook do that instead. So it is not in any way a polemical book, there are no long passages in which he decries the idiotic, macho thinking behind the idea of Honour Killing, it is implicit in the entire tale.

He does however show clearly what an absurd idea Honour Killing actually is, and how the thinking (for want of a better word) behind it is formed by a sort of two year old’s attitude to life.

And in passing, made me very glad that my one attempt to get into Albania back in about 1965 failed completely, when I walked up to the border between Greece and Albania and met with total rejection – Men in baggy green uniforms wielding guns refused to let me in, not surprisingly. Who know, I might have fallen foul of this ludicrous and childish law myself?

So, I can happily recommend this ebook for anyone to read. As I said at the top of this post, it is written for young adults and adults, which seems a fair description, I am almost 70 and found it intriguing reading, and I can well imagine that someone in their teens would also be gripped by its atmosphere too.

Where to get it:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/145089

Cost: $0.99

Available formats: 

  • HTML
  • .Mobi
  • ePub
  • PDF
  • RTF
  • LRF
  • Palm Doc
  • Text

Link to review of other ebook by him:http://www.ebookanoid.com/2011/10/25/ebook-review-%E2%80%93-crack-by-chris-barraclough/

Link to his website:  http://www.chrisbarraclough.co.uk/

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Once you have read this ebook, do please come back and let us know how you got on with it, always interesting to read people’s thoughts on such ebooks.

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