28 June 1389, the Field of the Blackbirds. A Christian army made up of Serbs, Bosnians, Albanians and Romanians confront an Ottoman army. In ten hours the battle is over, and the Muslims possess the field; an outcome that has haunted the vanquished ever since.
28 June 1989, the Serb Leader Slobodan Milosevic launches his campaign for a fresh massacre of the Albanians, the majority population of Kosovo.
In three short narratives Kadare shows how legends of betrayal and defeat simmered in European civilisation for six hundred years, culminating in the agony of one tiny population at the end of the twentieth century.
The main goal of these three fables ... is to transmit a message about freedom, in the sense that to write truthfully is to set something free. In this book Kadare has set Kosovo, the battle, the myth, free from the chains of untruth
The bridge is a foreboding, an omen, a threat. It is a bridge over which Asia will invade Europe and the future will invade the past. Kadare, an Albanian, has used the materials at hand to become one of Europe's great writers
An utterly captivating yarn: strange, vivid, ominous, macabre and wise