The sworn virgin by Kristopher Dukes

7860AE3C-B213-403A-8181-31A437D892B5Book set in Shkoder, Albania. Reviewed on 2019/05:

“Are you a man, or are you a woman?… A sworn virgin was a woman who had vowed to remain chaste in order to gain the right to live as a man: she could inherit property, earn a living, drink and smoke with other men, carry a gun, and kill for vengeance. She was essentially regarded as a man: even “she” was always referred as “he”. Shaved her head and dressed in pants, sometimes even her name was changed into something more masculine.” I had heard of #swornvirgins in northern #albania and parts of #kosovo and #montenegro before and definitely wanted to include this in my #genderqueerlit project. However besides a few academic articles and photo-documentaries, #theswornviriginby #kristopherdukes was the only fiction book I was able to find. If anyone knows of other novels, please do let me know. This is without a doubt a fascinating story from the get-go and which had parallels with other books about #women who have to take a role perceived as a man in society in order to overcome something. The main difference here is that this phenomenon was a very entrenched custom in northern #albanian society around #shkoder based on traditional laws: the #kanun of #lekëdukagjini . Having said all this, please be aware that #dukes is writing from a more commercial #harpercollins angle. In my opinion this story is good for about a hundred pages and then it devolves into a tasteless and trashy roller-coaster to nowhere. If it weren’t for the #historical angle, I wouldn’t give two seconds to this book. So I’m eager to hear about other fiction examples of sworn virgins. #mashkull#debutnovel #williammorrow#beganwithagoodstory #shkodër#escape

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