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A Dictator Calls

Ismail Kadare author John Hodgson translator


Publisher:Vintage Publishing

Published:4th Jul '24

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A Dictator Calls cover


'Comrade Stalin wishes to speak with you.'

A fascinating exploration of the relationship between writers and tyranny, from the winner of the first Man Booker International Prize.

In June 1934, Joseph Stalin allegedly telephoned the famous novelist and poet Boris Pasternak to discuss the arrest of fellow Soviet poet Osip Mandelstam. In a fascinating combination of dreams and dossier facts, Ismail Kadare reconstructs the three minutes they spoke and the aftershocks of this tense, mysterious moment in modern history.

Weaving together the accounts of witnesses, reporters and writers such as Isaiah Berlin and Anna Akhmatova, Kadare tells a gripping story of power and political structures, of the relationship between writers and tyranny. The telling brings to light uncanny parallels with Kadare's experience writing under dictatorship, when he received an unexpected phone call of his own.

Translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson

‘One of Europe's most decorated authors... Seasoned fans [of Kadare] will be enthralled’ Sunday Times

One of Europe's most decorated authors... Seasoned fans [of Kadare] will be enthralled by this very personal meditation on the circumstances in which, against the odds, he [Pasternak] still managed to thrive * Sunday Times *
An inquiry concerning power, artistic integrity, fame, memory and more… A Dictator Calls is slim, but its themes are not… the riddles of this novel are still ringing in my mind * Sunday Telegraph *
Albania’s greatest living writerA Dictator Calls is a thought-provoking consideration of the relationship between writers and tyranny, with John Hodgson’s translation gracefully rendering Kadare’s imagination. * Financial Times *
Rich material from this ever-intriguing writer -- Julian Barnes * New Statesman, *Books of the Year* *

ISBN: 9781529920574

Dimensions: 197mm x 129mm x 15mm

Weight: 162g

224 pages