First published in Albania in 1970, then in France in 1994, The Siege by Albanian author Ismail Kadare has finally made it to bookstores in the U.S. It is just out from Cannongate Press. It is extraordinary.
The book won the first Man Booker International Prize in 2005, and Kadare has repeatedly been seen as a candidate for a Nobel Prize in literature. And he is from Albania.
Set in medieval Albania during Ottoman rule, The Siege tells the story of an Ottoman army trying to take an Albanian citadel. If historical fiction, fine writing, epic battles, and universal themes interest you, this book is worth a look.
This book is brutal, sensual in places, and rich.
The photos at top are of Rozafa Citadel in Shkoder, Albania. They show the castle at a distance, then looking over the ramparts toward the city of Shkoder, then the interior of the fortress. The photos were shot back in 1994.
The General of the Dead Army and Broken April, both by Ismail Kadare.
Andersonville by McKinley Kantor
Broken April was the last book that I ever purchased from Oxford Bookstore in Atlanta. On my way to Albania to teach.