The Siege

By Ismail Kadare; Jusuf Vrioni (Translator); David Bellos (Translator)
(Canongate Us, Hardcover, 9781847671851, 328pp.)

Publication Date: February 2009

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Description

A Christian citadel in the mountains of Albania is met by the envoys of the Ottoman Armytheir message, accept our terms of total submission and avoid the inevitable violence. As the bloody and psychologically crushing fight for control over the citadel unfolds, Kadare’s newest work opens a literary window onto the eternal clash between religions and empires as well as the exhilaration, despair, and immediacy of the battlefield.

The imperial Pashaan instrument of the vast bureaucracy of the Ottoman Empireis the commander-in-chief of a war council that debates and decides the strategies and methods meant to grind away at the Albanians’ hold on their citadel and indeed their very way of life.  The Pasha’s cabinet embodies the political and strategic impulses that have characterized the mechanics of warfare throughout history: the engineer behind a technologically unprecedented weapon; the embattled leader of the restless foot soldiers and artillerymen; as well as the poet, war chronicler and astrologer who place it all in a larger context. All the while, the Pasha’s harem soothes his greatest fears and insecurities as the siege becomes increasingly oppressive and hopeless both for the besiegers and the besieged.




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





David Bellos is the director of the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication at Princeton University, where he is also a professor of French and comparative literature. He has won many awards for his translations of Georges Perec, Ismail Kadare, and others, including the Man Booker International Translator's Award. He also received the Prix Goncourt for "George Perec: A Life in Words". He is the author of the book "Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything".
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