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The Fall of the Stone City

by Ismail Kadare

The folklorist style and the gossipy conversation, where you can never be sure of any facts behind the rumours, produce a timeless, dreamlike feel which turns to nightmare when Nazi and Stalinist tyrannies impinge. With the official version of reality so obviously full of Orwellian lies, why shouldn't the dead be guests at the party?

Extract

A piece if good news arrived to increase the general joy. Rumours were generally ominous but this was something genuinely different. The city expected some rare treat; of what kind, nobody knew, not even the municipal leaders. But still the news spread. Probably there would be a big celebration with an important guest from the highest possible level. The city was no backwater to be awed by a visit. Besides the Leader, whose birthplace it was, the city had received King Zog and the princesses, his sisters, as well as Benito Mussolini of Italy and Victor Emmanuel, who was not only King of Italy and Albania but also Emperor of Ethiopia.
Translated by John Hodgson

Parallels

Time's Arrow by Martin Amis
HHhH by Laurent Binet
 

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