Mud Sweeter than Honey
Voices of Communist Albania
Margo Rejmer author Antonia Lloyd-Jones translator Zosia Krasodomska-Jones translator
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Published: 10th Nov '22
Available, normally delivered within 3-6 days.
Prize-winning reportage from Albania - a polyphonic account of life under Enver Hoxha's regime, in arguably the most brutal totalitarian state of all
"[An] incredibly moving collection of oral histories . . . important enough to be added to the history curriculum" Telegraph
"Essential reading" History Today
"A moving evocation . . . An illuminating if harrowing insight into life in a totalitarian state." Clarissa de Waal, author of ALBANIA: PORTRAIT OF A COUNTRY IN TRANSITION
"Albania, enigmatic, mysterious Albania, was always the untold story of the Cold War, the 1989 revolutions and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Mud Sweeter Than Honey goes a very long way indeed towards putting that right" New European
After breaking ties with Yugoslavia, the USSR and then China, Enver Hoxha believed that Albania could become a self-sufficient bastion of communism. Every day, many of its citizens were thrown into prisons and forced labour camps for daring to think independently, for rebelling against the regime or trying to escape - the consequences of their actions were often tragic and irreversible.
Mud Sweeter than Honey gives voice to those who lived in Albania at that time - from poets and teachers to shoe-makers and peasant farmers, and many others whose aspirations were brutally crushed in acts of unimaginable repression - creating a vivid, dynamic and often painful picture of this totalitarian state during the forty years of Hoxha's ruthless dictatorship.
Very little emerged from Albania during communist times. With these personal accounts, Rejmer opens a window onto a terrifying period in the country's history. Mud Sweeter than Honey is not only a gripping work of reportage, but also a necessary and unique portrait of a nation.
With an Introduction by Tony Barber
*Winner of the Polityka Passport Prize**Winner of the Koscielski Award*
Translated from the Polish by Zosia Krasodomska-Jones and Antonia Lloyd-Jones
"A moving evocation of the 'everyday terror' systematically perpetrated over 41 years of Albanian communism. The author brings together survivors' accounts of life under Albania's ruthless dictator, Enver Hoxha. Despite the inevitable bleakness, the author's skillful interviewing allows those recounting their experiences to engage us in their absorbing narratives. An illuminating if harrowing insight into life in a totalitarian state. -- Clarissa de Waal * author of ALBANIA: PORTRAIT OF A COUNTRY IN TRANSITION *
Beautifully researched, the book brings back to life sufferings and hopes of traumatized families and individuals that fell victim to the heartless cogwheels of a totalitarian regime. It will help a younger generation who has not lived under Communism to understand the past, and inspire them to work to build a better future -- Gjergj Erebara * Balkan Investigative Reporting Network *
Like Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich, whose oral histories have documented political oppression, Rejmer allows the voices of everyday Albanians to reveal the privations and fear under which they lived . . . A gripping book of starkly revealing testimony * Kirkus Review *
In the style of Svetlana Alexievich, Margo Rejmer uses interviews to approach the suffering of a still little-known people . . . Rejmer's poignant book rescues memory before it fades -- MARTA REBÓN * El País *
Albania, enigmatic, mysterious Albania, was always the untold story of the Cold War, the 1989 revolutions and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Mud Sweeter Than Honey goes a very long way indeed towards putting that right. -- Charlie Connelly * New European *
[Rejmer] lets the lived experience of Albanians speak for themselves, until the whole spectrum comes into view . . . a seamless translation -- Filip Noubel * Asymptote Journal *
Tells, in their own words, the stories of Albanians during communism and especially those of prisoners of the regime. One word wrong or a friend who tries to flee and whole lives are ruined. Rejmer's is a fine collection. -- Tim Judah * Financial Times *
[An] incredibly moving collection of oral histories . . . important enough, to be added to the history curriculum -- Tim Stanley * Telegraph *
A pioneering, necessary book of such uncompromising clarity that even readers familiar with the broad outlines of Albania's recent past are likely to find its contents shocking. -- Roderick Bailey * Literary Review *
Margo Rejmer, the Polish writer who assembled this extraordinary book, offers a 'polyphonic' account of victims of Albanian communism in the style of Svetlana Alexievich's Chernobyl Prayer -- Ian Thomson * Spectator *
This outstanding record of recollections of those who lived through it makes for chilling reading . . . It is impossible to imagine a title that better captures the squalid and sinister horror of life in Albania under communism * Strong Words *
Essential reading for anyone wishing to understand Communist Albania where, whether outside or inside prison, no one was every able to feel free -- Enriketa Papa-Pandelejmoni * History Today *
Dimensions: 198mm x 128mm x 24mm