The writer that breaks the armature of dictated values

With a difficult childhood, blooded-knees, mucky hoofs, full of yellowish flowers thorny, with finger pommels torn from blackberries, with bloodshot eyes from the cold river basins “Pavel” from whose caves he occupied trout and codfish, with seasoned limbs in sharply rocks where he tracks the partridge nests, Shefki Hysa exceeded the threshold of puberty and entered a problematic juvenility with a political convicted uncle, with his father dead in a young age, with a family victim of the class war, a flock of children like a flock of sparrows were left in the compassion of destiny, were fed with seeds of plants like birds in the slabs of stones, always at risk by trap, with their hand skin blackened from wild liquid blackberries and shoreriver nuts to extinguish hunger always present, with a harsh drapery cheesecloth, with the books and the copybooks of a scholar, they mature and grow up.And came the day that the petile young boy, with a wan face, like a man face went to Konispoli’s high school. He was skillful like a sable where he should point out, he sensed and he could clasps the good mark, but he was never estimated as he should, not because he didn’t deserve but because in his class were some beautiful faces of guys pampered from the political climate who necessarily must be the first of the class and even the studentship, the chosen draperies and the white necked maiden must be only for them. Contained up to coolness, worried face, seasoned on the atmosphere of a social nonchalance, without having the possibility to live his juvenility, deprived from the right to attend university, he was obliged to enter in the reclamation venture to be a Bulldozer. Familiarized with the petrol and grease smell, fattened with a driver dictionary, but very near to the nature virginity he began to sharpen the journalist’s and confessor’s pen to outline a new profile of self-esteem. He was caught with nails and teeth after the possibility to go to university at every cost, as a student of Tirana’s Philological University, thanks to Dritero Agolli’s goodwill for the new creators, in war with tarnishing biographies that were never separated from him. Thus, with hardship and efforts, thanks to his ambitions to go onward, but also born educated like a contradictory reaction toward a vicious reality, he broke the armature of the dictatorship values system, to display his communicative ability and secure talent. He is the author of works in prose such as: “Turtledove and the devil” (Narration), “Slave of Peace” (Novel), “The Cursed Heaven” (Novel), “Confessions of a Thief” (Novel) and also publisher, chief editor and also redactor of “Eagle’s wing” magazine (which was established from the poet, writer and the publicist: Bilal Xhaferri in USA), Shefki could attract the Albanians reader attention with his prominent individuality. The admission of diversities and the observance of the real values of the writers and artists, despite of their economical, political and social position, is a necessity that will condition the progress of Albanian society. As one of the most talented and productive proser writer, Shefki Hysa enters in literature with an abundance of motifs and themes that derive from the directly recognition of life after having drunk water from its sources, in chatchment and constructional brigades, in the school classes where he has taught, in Saranda’s and Bulqiza’s precincts but also in down towns and capital where he worked as a journalist. Shefki’s prose has a deep realistic breath because his individual evocations entwist with our communal biographical elements. A scalene reference in the place names where narrating and Romanesque actions happen, or a chart of the protagonists would assure us that we have to do with an irreplaceable afflatus and a possibility for a detailed and persuasive presentation of the environments and characters: Foinike, Dodona, Konispol, Saranda, Pandalejmon, Qafëbota, Qafëbualli, Bulqiza, Tirana, Chicago, Mileja, Mëllezi, the Holy Mountain, the Jinn Outfall, The Cross Crown, Epyr, Kosovo, Chameria etc. This argument is aggrandizes also by the usage of well known historical and contemporary names as: Pirro of Epyr, Hasan Tahsini, Enver Hoxha, Nikita Khrushchev, Dritëro Agolli, Ismail Kadare, Bilal Xhaferri or shortened and alienated forms of them, Xhek Hyz (Shefki Hysa), Xheki Vilëza (the same). Ben Lleiz (Arben Iliazi), Ali Arkeologu ( Halil Shabani), Cifja (Josif Papagjoni), designer Gim (Agim Mato), etc. Another stratification represent the symbolic names that rely on events and real characters like: Docent Ramushi, Nondë Kaçoli, Bill Burreci, Kapo Erosi, Kurrizo Hefesti, Ramush Kaleci, chief editor Kopani or designations used as sobriquets created on epithets basis, vices etc. like Dad, the Reeve Maliq, Dullë Baxhaja (taken from the H dossier), Xan Hunchback, Çalamani, Capori Gungo, Satan, Poison, Esmeralda, Lina, Lirika, Rozafa, Zemëria, Demona, Bardha, Eli, Turtledove, Diella, Kumrija, Afërdita,Black Widow, Princess Marsjana, Marsida, Kullumbria etc. These words of names is striking and significant and would serve as a tutorial target. The rich language full of idioms, dialects, jargons, which are functionalized especially in the character’s chamber, utters the realistic characteristics of Hysa’s prose. Beyond the realistic inclinations of Shefki Hysa’s prose, in it we notice also elements but even concepts of a real prose which relying on folk creativity and also contemporary literary techniques, it appears to us as complex as rich in its apparently simple structures, but also excessively expressive. It must be stressed out that this wont has its basement in the dramatics of vital material dredged and collected by the writer. The narration “Didini” that has as a protagonist the so named character, a discrete nationalist disengaged in faith, betrayed and shot, who cannot find rest in his tomb and wonders like a squab in the old house’s ruins, is an artistic model of the usage of the magic elements which are an utterance of the magic realism in our literature. In the same way the scene of the conversation between I.Kadare and Pirro of Epyr, the vivid dreams of the same protagonists etc, support the idea that magic realism in our literature is not imported from Italy or Latin America, by Dino Buxati, Garcia Marquez or Isabel Aliende but is a litter of Albanian Folklore’s influence, a product of fantastic fairytales that populate it, so it is a lawsuit artistically natural and wrongful. The folklore’s influence seems obvious in the other magic narration “The Turtledove and the Devil”, where is operated with the same artistic means, in the transformation of the girl into a turtledove and the boy into a whisper. The umbra’s role, like umbra characters or umbra images in Hysa’s books for example the soul or the umbra of Didini speaks in benefit to the existence of magic realism in Albanian literature: “The soul stopped in abeyance the breeze on the rooftop of the old house” (“Confessions of a thief” pg.51). In this sense art’s essence is not a naturalist reflection but an esthetic transformation of reality on basis the main esthetic categories, where the beautiful becomes more beautiful (Rozafa, Afërdita, Esmeralda, Diella) and the uglier (Reeve, Dad, Dudumi): The reddish face of Dad, big and rounded, in a net of deep wrinkles as impaled with knife… looked on you through hollows life like two fresh wounds where two pupil eyes blanched like two extinct cinder, stuck in reddish seams nets (The Cursed Heaven pg.122). Divinities and monsters are built on this principle, the grandiose and the grotesque. The Reeve, the Capo Eros, the humpback Hefesti; Dad and Dudumi; jackass president and the shit under the fez are just artistic embodiments where the reality is changed and transformed through the hyperbolic features, behaviors and attitudes, creating in this way the grotesque image which has a more sensitive esthetic effect as an archetype of the hideous and the ridiculous. Embodiments of the evil with faces like red skinned indigenous, with the utterance sometimes of idiot innocence and sometimes of beast’s savagery which cracks the teeth, sometimes cynic and supercilious, sometimes rambling as caricatures, are symbols of Power and Violence or blind enforcer of this embodiment. Thus the author manages that through entwisting of naturalist and expressionist elements to fulfill in details the perverseness, the disdain that the characters awake, when they eat carrion like vulture animals, when they snore like pigs in slush and urinate under the table. Even their criminal actions, carried out with placidly and premeditated, are neatly motivated. The murders of Dardan, Albano, Rozafa and Jack witness this ghoulish attitude. If there are great artistic figure from those which are considered an artistic breakthrough in literary works and in our case like the figures of Dad and Dudum, which should be considered together as representatives of Power and Violence. The author merit is the granting of the two social-political archetypes that have ruled Albania among all the time until the 20-th century. How many Chieftains, Majordomos, Reeves, constabulary commanders, cooperatives elders, commissioners, directors, deputies and ministers used to be part of us? Such has been hundreds. Monsters with debonair faces, monsters with monstrous faces, tarnished souls and black-risk people that never forgot that ever and anon to pour ashes in our eyes by doing some public commonweal or in benefits of a dervish, a “common weal” for the sake of name. The naive peasant used to say: “mister so and so does good deeds too”. In the narration with same title, the reeve is the continuation of the same character with Dad, but not of a socialist dad but that of the Albanian democracy (read anarchy). This character has evolved, but still awakes a grater disdain and a deep disappointment feeling for our vicious realities. Anyway, the deflection of the white and black colors and the emplacement of these characters in concrete situations make them artistically reliable. Even Capo Eros and Humpback Hefest are like two halves of one entire. The connotation and the hyperbolas that the author has used has crated two different characters not only in their physical appearance but also in their characters. As beautiful and fascinating is Capo Eros, capable to absorb like with a magnet and to seduce all the feminine beauty, as ugly and repellent is Humpback Hefesti, pray of whom is all the feminine world seduced after Capo Eros who is incapable to fulfill their sexual desires. This couplet also reminds Power and Violence (read Dad and Dudum) but in a more indirect sense. Women are seduced by the power of Eros and are defeated by Sword’s violence. This couple that stigmatizes the moral aspects of nowadays society becomes unwillingly her portrait.
Beside the literary language inside Shefki Hysa writings vivify even southern-northern dialectical forms, taken from the labors environment and due to the characters psychology. But actually, the language of this narrator is characterized by the will and the effort to produce new forms, often work formation forms, produced with the dough of our linguistic treasury or to activate rear forms, which have impact in the ideas’ expression, in portrayals and give to the artistic tableau a special emotional connotation. Some of them are: the hole entity was re-alarmed, flummery attitude, anxious expectancy, over–tiring, imperial twilight, ghoulish flip, head-idol of the empire, crouched in invisibility, lights constellation, ticklish laughter, crazy love, widow-hood fast, elderly solitude, the darkness of the stocking cave, pained body, greasy acridity, fatty acridity, winter souls, mysterious ruins, draggle-tailed snows, etc. Sometimes this linguistic attainments stipple around a name or around his form, in word formation and in the lexical field of the key words for example world-neck, dream-neck ,hope-neck, pig-neck, lost-neck; the dept-city, the city-dept; or I’m Dullë Baxhaja, the multi-hands, multi-voice, the multi-face, the very invisible, the very ubiquitous… and other new colloquialism acquire new-words with new-meanings in function of the ideas ex: the idea that we have to deal with an immoral human being is given by these words: ladies tracer, searcher, hidden gluttonous, his body pullulates for the amorous desire, devil orgasm, erotic battle. An ominous tiding is given by these means and other characterizations: the raven-phone, the ravish phone, cawed, portentous, the ominous tiding, the thunderclap- tiding etc. I doubt that these word-forming structures aren’t influenced by one of his literary idols, Ismail Kadare writer. But still the linguistic novelties artistry goes further when they serve to built up alliterations and harmonic sound organizations that create coherence to the realities essence. Ex: the blood traces hunter, love rendered him into an ox for Danana, carrion crows with black-calamity caws, a calculated hesitation from diabolic minds etc. These sounding organizations and the metaphoric, symbolic and metonymy language of the author bring up his prose near to poem, because we know that these are means and techniques of writing poems. In order to establish stylistic effects the author uses densely functional suffixes, often diminished: slightingly, dully, bluntly, blindly, violently, furiously, cyclonically (as adverbs); geezer, dame, a saintly way, groom, little avenue, little town, squeaker, a small lawn, a small fez; (nouns): decrepit, grayish, wounded (adjectives) etc. Actually these morphological operations in word structure refresh it, make it meaningful and more thought-conveyer and sense conductor. To see their functional side we can give an illustration in a more concrete way. Ex: he considered himself grandee as Penelope, he took the little antenna with the top of his fingers and picked up the fez; …the walls were grizzled, the roof-tiles where livid, kissed the absorption like a small strawberry, with a singer tone… I was out-scarred etc. The use of vulgarizations by this author, have an artistic function to justify the art democratization, the right of citizenship of speech, authenticity of circumstances etc. The possibility for another cause is not either excluded. Generally the writers and the artists aren’t the nature’s caressing nor are the power favorable and this kind of language puts them nearer to the mass of simple people because they do not differentiate themselves as ideal authors, on the contrary, often they feel real authors, people made of flesh and blood and, this language is the expression of discontent, their inner revolt. Let’s get to a new problem: it’s about the foreshadowed and impressionable tonality of the literary and artistic work, or in other words to the emotional-idea attitude of the author. We know that these tonalities and attitudes are reflective towards different socio-political, economic and cultural realities, but primarily they express the outlook and the evocation of the artist. He has a social origin, sources of the fortune, economic situation, political engagement, ideological convictions, and the psychology as an artist and as a human being. Being like this he can’t be immune from the politics’ influence but would be necessary not to fall its pray. Generally in his literary work Shefki escapes from this trap. He presents in that book an incubus commander who shoots with a bullet behind shoulders but to the other side he has a partisan nurse that feels sorry for human beings and moves heaven and earth to save their lives. The socialist realism is stigmatized there, but it is also spoken out in a delightful way for Ismail Kadare, Dritero Agolli, and Bilal Xhaferri as characters in the novel “Slave of Peace”. In any case, like in the “Slave of Peace”, the hell scene, which actually is excessively episodic and has nothing to do with the main lines of the conflict’s development, where the writers of socialist realism don’t let each other to perk, is explained by the eternal envy of creators but even by the state politics to put them against each other and this has been real. Other scenes are justified by the symbolic burden of main characters. Still the author sometimes hasn’t purposely avoided the exaggeration. “Beasts’ junket, the lion grabs the haunch (Dad), the wolf a part of the chest (Dudumi), Chippings some ribbings (some cadres of the party and power), and hyenas (some simple communists and distinguished miners) what is remained from the beasts’ junket. Ex: Dudum is described not as a lawman but as a gigantic police, a biped brute as an ignorant being, the wolf-herder of the human race of this city of the hell. Even the city itself is scaring, rolled with an old mountain pelisse and a black cloud cap above the head, a city that consumes only peppers, whose paunch is empty and cant fill the miners’ punches either etc. It is to be mentioned that Bulqiza or Memaliaj of the 80s don’t differ too much from this tableau. Even the fact that with the same vivid colors and the same grotesque scenes are described Dad and Dudum, as representatives and products of yesterday and Reeve and Kumria as representatives and products of the present, assures that the author doesn’t see all in black and white, that the exaggeration is an artistic lawsuit and not a political playbill. In the roman “The Cursed Heaven”, in the ingoing scene the portraiture of the two harlequins, that among centuries have tried to destroy Albania, the scenes of the battle for the head-idols’ crown in the chapter for the Holy Mountain and especially in the narration “The idols Empire” it is built the thought that idols are our national disgrace. The author feels sorry for this country and that’s why every time he has the chance, he reveals his patriotic soul, his anguish for Chameria and for the Cham’s issue, for Kosova and Kosovar’s issue, for the whole Albania and for the Whole Albanian issue. The scenes with Pirro of Epyr, with Bilal Xhaferri, and of the massacre committed in Chameria, of that of the Bota’s Saddle, the scene with the two emigrants in America etc are the evidence that establish this kind of conviction. I wonder how many years will we wander as Jewish in desert. Despite all this, optimism and hope, is not lacked by the author. The depiction of big-heart characters as uncle Miho, the lakes’ magic oldster, the presence of lovers who for the sake of a great feeling know how to sacrifice, underline this faith. Another important artistic joint in the narrative composition of this author, in which his mellow values catch the eye distinctly, is undoubtedly a psychological rummage of characters, of feelings, of thoughts, of manners and their attitudes especially in the culminant and conflict moments. In “The Cursed Heaven” novel, when Jack is between two choices the battle of motivations is very long and he finds very difficult to choose: loving Rozafa, not just because of affection, but for great true human feelings and sincere love, in this way bearing the vital privations and sacrifices or lay in bad with Diella, the innocent ideal-beauty who isn’t guilty toward him and who is also a victim of Dad gaining in this way a well ordered life in Tirana, in expectancy of a important post but without human dignity. What triumphs in his soul is closely connected with the power of his character when he discovers that Rozafa was massacred to open the way to the marriage of Diella. He doesn’t hesitate to sacrifice paying his disapproval with death, there in the mountain, in coldness, in darkness, in the wolf’s mouth. Even in the major narrations, especially in those in which the author doesn’t use stunts but the vital juice is directly given, the psychological motivation is naturally founded, it flows in their interiors because of the action and the personality of the characters, is not an outer dishing to legalize characters’ variables. Lets remind certain narrations such as “Didini”, “Testimony”, “Maggie of the City” , “Olives”, “Qopeku” ,”The Oldster of the Lakes” etc. Shefki Hysa’s compositions speak out clearly of the fact that he has the ability to bake art works with dough from his own magic. There are writers who have created during their entire life but haven’t baked a single crumpet from their corn. With his tireless job, with culture and passion he will always be able to mould and bake each time better his literary bread. His so far compositions allow us to hope so.

Bardhyl Maliqi

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1 Response to The writer that breaks the armature of dictated values

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