The Country Where No One Ever Dies

The Country Where No One Ever Dies

by Ornela Vorpsi
The spare, unsentimental first novel by an extraordinary new voice in world literature.


The spare, unsentimental first novel by an extraordinary new voice in world literature.

Editorial Reviews

Josh Maday - The Collagist
“Ornela Vorpsi’s unforgettable first novel pulses with an undercurrent of black energy, thick with sarcasm, cynicism, and, in the end, a recognizably tender and wounded humanity.”
Le Figaro Magazine
“Filled with poetic and gracious sentences. . . . Read her, this novel is delightful.”
Le Monde
“Both ironic and lucid, Ornela Vorpsi’s prose is as lively as she is.”
Publishers Weekly
This slender sendup of life in rural Albania under the Communist regime offers a hilarious look into a simple, uneducated people's mores and passionate natures. Narrated by a girl who lives with her beautiful, unhappy mother while her father is imprisoned for absurd “political” reasons, the punchy vignettes treat aspects of village life that center on a sunny lassitude and a preoccupation with ensuring a girl preserves her “immaculate flower”; the local school, where the narrator is punished by her zealous Communist teacher; the sad fates of neighbors; and the narrator's uneasy relationship with her absent father, whom she recalls as brutal and a slobbering kisser (“Why did I bother giving you life if I can't even give you a kiss?”). Books offer her the prospect of escape, and our intrepid protagonist procures them by offering a venal elementary school teacher her mother's jewelry in exchange for access to “the great stockpile of dreams.” Vorpsi cleverly melds old wives' tales, a child's naïveté and sharp-edged irony for a not-so-gentle skewering of her homeland. (Nov.)
Le Magazine Litteraire
Ornela Vorpsi opposes the coherence and continuity of her narrative to the madness of her dysfunctional family and of a totalitarian government for which brutal deaths and malevolence are common practice.

Product Details

Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date:
Eastern European Literature Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Ornela Vorpsi was born in Tirana, Albania and now lives in Paris. The Country Where No One Ever Dies was her first novel and won several prizes in Italy, including the Grinzane Cavour and Viareggio Prizes. It has since been published in fourteen languages.

Der Historiker Michael Schmidt-Neke wurde 1956 in Baden-Baden geboren. Er hat vor 40 Jahren als einer der ersten Westdeutschen erstmals Albanien besucht und sich schon wahrend seines Studiums auf Geschichte und Kultur der Albaner spezialisiert. Er ist Autor und Herausgeber mehrerer Bucher und zahlreicher Artikel und Aufsatze uber dieses Land. Er ist Vorstandsmitglied der Deutsch-Albanischen Freundschaftsgesellschaft und veroffentlicht in deren Zeitschrift "Albanische Hefte" regelmassig Analysen zu Vergangenheit und Gegenwart Albaniens sowie Besprechungen von Buchern uber das Balkanland.

Janice Mathie-Heck is a poet, translator, editor, and literary critic. Most recently, her essay on the poetry of Visar Zhiti appeared in Mehr Licht!.

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