When the new Egyptian Pharaoh decrees that he does not want a pyramid built in his honour his advisers are aghast. It is their firm belief that peace and prosperity only make the people more difficult to control – they must be kept under the whip. So the Pharaoh agrees to the construction of a pyramid colossal beyond imagining, an edifice that crushes dozens of people as each block is added and which inexorably drains the lifeblood from the country. As Egypt builds its monument to death, its neighbours plot and gloat…[Kadare] chronicled the dark years of dictatorship in masterpieces such as The PyramidA haunting sense of time moving backwards and forwards like a train at a terminus, an authentic sense of adventure, and an extraordinary facility with metaphor take over… Kadare's new novel is mesmerising.A vast, deep, obsessive parable. Like every parable, its fundamental significance transcends its apparent meaningA masterpiece... A hauntingly beautiful parable woven from the fabric of history yet timeless in its reachIn the end, this book - which does not have (or need) a conventional plot, protagonist or conflict - adds up to a haunting meditation on the matter-of-fact brutality of political despotism, the harshness of life among the humble and powerless, and the vastness, ubiquity and stonelike permanence of death, which treats all humanity as equals.
Ismail KadareBarbara Bray
Ismail Kadare is Albania's best-known novelist and poet. Translations of his novels have appeared in more than forty countries. He was awarded the inaugural Man Booker International Prize in 2005, the Jerusalem Prize in 2015, the Park Kyong-ni Prize in 2019 and the Neustadt Prize in 2020.