Notes about the book of stories “The turtledove and the devil” of the prose writer Shefki Hysa
The first book of stories of prose writer Shefki Hysa is called “The turtledove and the devil” (Turtullesha dhe djalli). This summery of stories is the review of a reality travestied by former communist dictatorship, unlike that fabled socialist “reality” that the disabled literature of ideological realism used to hymn. So, this author’s creativity belongs to a literature denied by former communist censorship, which was bewaring of the so-called claws of “Absurd decadence”, that allegedly used to darken the real values of Albanian art and literature.
In this book, the writer Shefki Hysa is presented as a love singer and at the same time a singer of the big human metamorphosis caused by the pain of that love loss, a love that is violated by malignity, symbolized by devil, daemon, villain or many other nicknames with which the popular rhapsody labels man’s malice. In this viewpoint, his creativity is an innovation, which brings back in Albanian modern literature in a creative way, the magical elements which are often met in folkloric creations, especially in the Cham epos, a thing that makes this literature wonderful and with big values, like that of magic realism represented by the famous world writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Where does this magic-realism appear in Shefki Hysa’s stories? In making tragic the reality itself masterly adduced in two plans: in one man’s tragic destiny and the denied love denied and in the other plan the wonderful Cham epos, with legends, fairy- tales, ballads, narrations, lived stories and shivering events, artistically repeated in the creations of this author originating from martyr Chameria blooded by the barbarian Greek General Zerva legions’ violence. Thus, “The turtledove” is nothing less than a “Love in the time of cholera” similar to the loves of Marquez’s turbulent times, which wander and wander through centuries up to now and which will go on wandering until the inevitable war between The Good and The Evil exists. The whisper of the inextinguishable love longing is felt from one page of the book to the other the same way as that desert grief that derives from the transformation that evil and devil brings in everyday human life.
The transformation in the literary reality that Shefki Hysa has created is a kind of metamorphosis like the one of the writer Franz Kafka brought recurred in the form of a narration, (not as a fairy tale, but like a hidden metaphoric reality by the view of “state Cyclops”, a thing that makes this writer’s book a dare with rare literary values. Without hiding anything (away from collectivism and the obligatory love in the reality of collective work preached by socio-realism), this creativity puts the individual in the real dimensions and conveys the message that love and pain are as human as divine products, which stimulate in man the abilities for survival in the long war for existence. The man in love with the life experiences victories and losses, so, he passes from a situation in another, and he meets even a metamorphosis to defend himself from the pain caused by evil. In the book “The turtledove and the devil” (Turtullesha dhe djalli), this metamorphosis of pain doesn’t come as an evocation of a moment of imagination but as a collapse of a “Cheops’ Pyramid” of anti-values which used to frequently adorn the spirit of love of socio-realist literature personages. There is no any religion or ideology in these stories, but just an authentic lyricism, a showing of a universal faith “legend”, which is called love-pain and human loss, real as well as earthy, like in every work of contemporary world literature.
Perhaps is this harrowing lyricism simply an artistic fantasy? No! It is a survival expression in the memory of human love, which, like the life itself, in the process of mutability inside material and substance, rouses by causing more tears and pain than smiles. Every kind of love brings change, blooming, but the evil, like all the monsters pending their prey, aims the destruction of love spirit, which, to survive, is constrained to be converted, to be metamorphosed, without losing its function, like the personages Turtledove and Murmur, which are again metamorphosed, were embodied in Bird and Wind, again two realities inextricably related and necessary for each other.
This “magic realism”, this miracle, is propounded as a concept of survival of the divine creatures that never end in front of the fatality that the clash with the evil brings to them. They are only transformed as in these stories, which have neither “literary frames” nor “Ionian esthetical ego”, but reflect what the Albanian man experiences, regardless of how much he expresses them in specific situations.
No one can say I lived without living, no one can say I loved without loving; no one can say I lost without fighting… This is the essence of the message that the book “The turtledove and the devil” transmits…