Ismail Kadare, John Hodgson
‘A fascinating study of a difficult love’ John Burnside, Guardian
Young Ismail’s world centres around his mother.
Naive and fragile as a paper doll, she is an unlikely presence in her husband’s imposing house, with its hidden rooms and infamous dungeon. Yet despite her youthful nature, she is not without her own enigmas. Most of all, she fears that her intellectual, radical son will exchange her for a superior mother when he becomes a famous writer.
From the winner of the first ever Man Booker International Prize, this is a disarming story of home and creative ambition, of personal and political freedom. Rooted in the author’s own childhood in Albania, it is dedicated to the memory of his mother.
‘Laconic, sinister and drily funny’ Spectator
Albania's greatest living novelist has invariably explored his country's repressive political legacy in his strange and brilliant novels... [The Doll] can only enrich our understanding and appreciation of Kadare's writing. * Daily Mail * Laconic, sinister and drily funny... Miss this fatalistic, deadpan wit, well served in John Hodgson's nicely crafted translation, and you miss something essential in Kadare. -- Boyd Tonkin * Spectator * In a properly ordered world, Ismail Kadare would by now have got the Nobel prize for literature. By any reckoning, he is one of the most important living European writers, a man whose work is as compelling as any novelist to have emerged from the vanished world that was the Communist bloc -- Melanie McDonagh * Evening Standard * The poignant observation, bitter irony and misspoken fear running through the narrator's central relationship with his mother, a woman secretly terrified of being disowned as unworthy the moment her son achieves the fame he so desires, are what dominate this fascinating study of a difficult love. -- John Burnside * Guardian * An essential work. The Doll is mesmerising, and like Kadare's family home conceals both darkness and flashes of light in its interior -- Nilanjana Roy * Financial Times *
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