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This early novel by controversial Albanian author Kadare was originally published in 1963; Coltman's English translation, based on the French edition, first appeared in 1971. (The only other English translation currently available is by W.H. Allen.) The book's protagonist is an Italian army officer who has come to Albania to recover the bodies of soldiers who died twenty years earlier in World War II. The General and his team carry crudely drawn maps and directions to burial sites supplied by aging war veterans. At first, the General fantasizes about returning home in triumph with his army of dead soldiers, but his optimism quickly fades. Rain and cold weather make recovery difficult, and the sullen Albanians continue to treat the Italians as invaders. It doesn't help that German recovery teams are there at the same time. The clerical routines of the mission become increasingly oppressive. Before long, the General is haunted by terrifying dreams and hallucinations. He starts to see living people as skeletal remains and, fatally, begins to feel sympathy for the Albanians. This gloomy but powerful antiwar novel provides an excellent introduction to Albania's best-known author.
—Edward B. St. John
Posted March 12, 2012
A wonderful which exposes the aftermath and conclusions war bring to all nations involved. Kadare writes to bring the reader in to beg for more.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 26, 2001