The book explores the life of an Albanian student living in Russia during the time at which Boris Pasternak received his nobel prize for the book Doctor Zhivago. This book explores the relations between Russia and Albania at the time of writing.
I learned a new word when reading the book which is "Bessa". It is described through the legend of a family during a conflict several hundred years ago during a time of war where a mother sees all her sons go to war and her daughter leave for a country beyond the mountains. One of these brothers gives his "Bessa" to bring back the daughter before going to fight.
All the sons die in the conflict and they are all buried in the same cemetery where the mother comes to speak to them and let them know how much she misses them. For the fourth son though she spits on his grave and curses him for having not kept his promise/bessa.
The son remembering the promise he had made before going to war resurects from the dead, gets a horse and travels for several days and nights to get to his sister. When she sees him she asks him why he is so pale and why he's covered in mud but he doesn't answer. Once they get back to the cemetery he gets off the horse, turns around and tells his sister to continue towards home, he has something to do at the gates of the cemetery. She arrives home whilst he having accomplished his "Bessa" can now rest in peace.
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