4 out of 4 stars
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The effect of political violence and crisis does not only make folly of a man but also provides opportunities for men to mature. This was the case of Pertef Bylykbashi in this artistic, non-fiction work, Besa.
It was 1951, and the communist had the thumb over Albania. As it was obtainable in a jungle of interests, the masses always bear the heat of the feud. Albania had barely got her independence before the Russians infiltrated the wave of communism. This was the web on which the Bylykbashi family found themselves. At the center of this higgledy-piggledy was the protagonist, Peterf. To cut short a meritorious time was the beginning of the end of Pertef's homeliness.
Although this is the story of the author's negative experiences, the plot of Besa is artistically crafted to soothe the taste of many categories of readers. This is so, as the story revolves around so many other sub-themes besides war and dictatorship.
"Give your BESA that you will not forget the family honour and name." This was the central formation of this novel. Despite the brutal acts of the communist Albanians against their brothers, the Bylykbashi family would not give in to compromise. Pertef, the cynosure of integrity and faithfulness, resisted every pressure from the communists even at gunpoint. This was not ordinary. Pertef and his two other brothers went through the customary ritual of circumcision. This singular act was significant and symbolic. It gave the persistent resistance of grandmother Aishe, Resmije, Pertef, among others, a solid ancestral backing. Although a life story of Pertef, the intertwist and artistic use of words, events, and plots make Besa a creative work of art.
Pertef is an omniscient narrator who uses the first-person point of view to relay the plot sequence of the book. As for the artistic aspect, the subplot of romance creates a sense of relief and distraction from the violence. Indeed, comic relief is a pivotal element that lightens up tragic stories like this.
However, the accurate predictions of Lumka and Pertef felt unreal and childish. For instance, Lumka predicted that they would receive a letter from America containing 50 dollars by the following day, and it came exactly the way she envisioned. Also, I noticed that chapters 15, 16, and 25 were out of place. While other chapters started on a new page, they started on the same page as the end of the preceding chapters. This is a minor formatting issue that I felt the need to point out. The problems I raised in this paragraph didn't affect the book's rating negatively; they were trivial.
Anyone who loves patriotism and freedom is the perfect audience for this book. I also recommend it to readers of ages 13 and above interested in historical events and adventure. The editing was exceptionally done. I was so in awe of the twist and diction of this artistic work that I couldn't help but rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
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