The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare

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We are accustomed to historical fiction that pretends to be factual: poetic licences are contritely confessed in an afterword and critics are keen to point out anachronisms or impossibilities.
-Guardian

Synopsis

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 Ismail Kadare

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Ismail Kadare was born in Albania in 1936. His first novel, The General of the Dead Army established him as a major international voice in literature. His work has since been translated into forty languages, and in 2005 he became the first winner of the Man Booker International Prize.
 
Published February 5, 2013 by Grove Press. 176 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Law & Philosophy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Fall of the Stone City
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Christopher Byrd on May 03 2013

...such is Kadare’s skill as a storyteller that he renders conventional wisdom with the force of a childhood trauma.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Alberto Manguel on Sep 21 2012

We are accustomed to historical fiction that pretends to be factual: poetic licences are contritely confessed in an afterword and critics are keen to point out anachronisms or impossibilities.

Read Full Review of The Fall of the Stone City | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Feb 06 2013

If you don't know his work, this is a good place to begin. I hope you won't stop here.

Read Full Review of The Fall of the Stone City | See more reviews from NPR

Reader Rating for The Fall of the Stone City
85%

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