The Three-Arched Bridge
by Ismail Kadare
In the Balkan Peninsula, history’s long-disputed bridge between Asia and Europe, the receding Byzantine empire has left behind a patchwork of warring peoples who fight over everything, from their pastures of sheep to the authorship of their countless legends. One such gruesome tale declares that a castle under construction cannot be finished until a young mason’s bride has been walled up alive, one breast left exposed to suckle her growing infant even after her death. Myth becomes perverse reality when a mason is plastered into a bridge over a strategically important river, where his will not be the last human sacrifice.