The Fall of the Stone City

By Ismail Kadare; John Hodgson (Translator)
(Grove Press, Hardcover, 9780802120687, 171pp.)

Publication Date: January 2013

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Description

It is 1943, and the Second World War is ravaging Europe. Mussolini decides to pull out of his alliance with the Nazis, and withdraws the Italian troops occupying Albania. Soon after, Nazi forces invade Albania from occupied Greece. The first settlement in their path is the ancient stone city of Gjirokastër, an Albanian stronghold since the fourteenth century. The townsfolk have no choice but to surrender to the Nazis, but are confused when they see that one of the town’s residents, a certain Dr. Gurameto, seems to be showing the invading Nazi Colonel great hospitality. That evening, strains of Schubert from the doctor’s gramophone waft out into the cobbled streets of the city, and the sounds of a dinner party are heard. The sudden disappearance of the Nazis the next morning leaves the town wondering if they might have dreamt the events of the previous night. But as Albania moves into a period of occupation by the Nazis, and then is taken over by the communists, Dr. Gurameto is forced to answer for what happened on the evening of the Nazi’s invasion, and finally explain the events of that long, strange night.

Dealing with themes of resistance in a dictatorship, and steeped in Albanian folklore and legend, The Fall of the Stone City shows Kadare at the height of his powers.




About the Author
Ismail Kadare est ne en 1936 a Gjirokaster, dans le sud de l'Albanie.Il paracheve a Moscou, a l'institut Gorki, pepiniere d'auteurs et de critiques, des etudes commencees a la faculte des Lettres de Tirana.De retour dans son pays apres la rupture avec l'Union sovietique (1960), il se lance dans le journalisme et publie simultanement ses premiers poemes. II ecrit ensuite une nouvelle, qu'il remanie plusieurs fois, et qui finira par devenir son premier roman publie, "Le General de l'armee morte", celui aussi qui le fera connaitre en Albanie.Il devient alors " ecrivain a temps complet ." Parallelement, il dirige la revue litteraire "Les Lettres albanaises" (publiee simultanement en francais).Ayant rompu avec le regime de Tirana, Ismail Kadare obtientl'asile politique en France en octobre 1990.Depuis quelques annees, il vit entre la France et l'Albanie.

Son 1/2uvre, publiee aux Editions Fayard, est composee de romans, de recits, de recueils de nouvelles, d'un recueil de poesie et d'une piece de theatre.Sont aussi parus les douze volumes de ses "1/4uvres completes".Ismail Kadare est considere depuis quelques annees comme l'un des plus grands ecrivains de notre temps. Son 1/2uvre est traduite dans une quarantaine de pays.

Distinctions

Ismail Kadare a ete elu membre associe etranger de l'Academie des Sciences morales et politiques au siege de Karl Popper en 1996.Il a recu, en 1993, le prix Mediterranee-Etranger pour "La Pyramide".Il s'est vu decerner, en juin 2005, le Man Booker International Prize parmi une selection d'ecrivains mondialement celebres, parmi lesquels Saul Bellow, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Gunter Grass, Milan Kundera, Naguib Mahfouz et Kenzaburo Oe.Il a recu, en 2009, le prix Prince des Asturies des Lettres pour l'ensemble de son 1/2uvre.

(c) Photo: J. Foley / OPALE / Editions Fayard



John Hodgson is Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Science, Massey University, New Zealand.
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