Albania treats its women badly it seems

Antigona and Me Book Cover Antigona and Me
Kate Clanchy
Biography & Autobiography
Pan Macmillan
2009
273

Antigona and Me is a memoir of the five years the poet Kate Clanchy spent living closely with Antigona, a Kosovan refugee. Antigona becomes her project, her protegee, her cleaner, her nanny, and slowly, through hours of conversation and negotiations of difference, her friend. Through the story of the women's growing understanding is woven the dramatic tale of Antigona's great escape – from Milosevic, from her forced, violent marriage, and from the most traditional pastoral society in Europe – and the growing toll of her losses, as she and her rebellious teenage daughters negotiate London. Antigona's wit and vertiginous perspectives on contemporary life illuminate and transform the way the writer thinks, bringing many hard truths uncomfortably close to home.

 

I really wanted to love this book – and I did initially, but then I got bored.

The story of he Albanian treatment of women and the Kanun of Lek is horrifying, and the blood feuds that continue for years is well known across those areas – and in Sardinia and other remote areas too. I thought at first that Antigona was a great character and inspiration, but as the story develops she became less so, and I got bored of all the discussion about the Kanun and the relatives and the way women should behave and…

It certainly was very tragic and the life these women led in Albania was horrific but how many times can you say it and not de-sensitise your reader?

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