Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Ibrahimi, Anilda "Red Like a Bride"


Ibrahimi, Anilda "Red Like a Bride" (Italian: Rosso come una sposa) - 2008

This Italian book has not been translated into English but because it is available in other languages (Finnish, French, German, Serbian), some of us read it in our international online book club. I read the German translation: Rot wie eine Braut.

For a long time, we hardly heard anything about Albania. You knew the country was secluded, no one came in, even fewer less came out.

In this book we are told about life behind the curtain. We get to know four generations of women, starting with Saba, who was married to her sister's widower at the age of 15 and had nine children by him, five girls and four boys.

The war changes the position of women, they get an education and become more independent, also in the countryside. We live through the different generations up to Dora who is telling the story.

The title alludes to the tradition that in Albania a bride would be dressed all in red.

An interesting story about life in a country we still don't know much about. Well written, easy to read. I liked it very much.

This was discussed in our international online book club in May 2023.

The group had a really good discussion about it, it was very well liked among everyone, both from the interesting perspective of Albanian history and culture, and the different stories moving along the book along the lives of the women the story told about towards modern times, how life goes on and is connected. The group thought it was a high quality read, and warmly would recommend it and gave it 5 out of 5 points.

Book description (translated):

"Four generations of women, a chest full of memories, the start of a new life Young Dora left her native Albania to start a better life in Italy. In the distance, the memories of her family, who have lived a simple life in the small mountain village of Kaltra for generations, determined by archaic traditions, suddenly seem like they are from another time. But whenever she opens the chest that was left to her by Saba, the grandmother, takes Saba's red wedding veil in her hands and smells the familiar smell of quince, the past comes to life before her eyes..."


  1. Sounds great. I will add it to my list of reading from different countries. One does not know so much about Albania, although it is situated in Europe. Still has a flair of seclusion.

    1. Exactly, Lisbeth. I have only read other Albanian books by Ismail Kadaré, and they were also great.