01 July, 2012
Mark has been living as a man for fourteen years; prior to that Mark was Hana. Sometimes the gender pronouns confused me but I realized that it was my own expectations that made it confusing. The gender change in "In Transit" is not about the sexuality of a person but about traditions and expectations. Hana's uncle, Gjergj cannot die in peace without a man as head of household. Hana takes on the role of a man, her uncle dies in peace and the community is comfortable.
"In Transit" was published in PEN America: A Journal for Writers and Readers, issue #15. The story was translated by Clarissa Botsford. I liked the story and it gives an insight into Albanian culture.
"Some men in the village let off rifle shots to celebrate the event, and the man from the Party does not say a thin. Nor do the policeman. If things stay within limits, the Party is magnanimous. If a young girl decides to become the man of the house, well, traditions are to be respected. Within limits."
Dones's official web site
Wikipedia page about Dones
Albanian Literature in Translation web site
PEN America page for Dones