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Albanian witness

Ismail Kadare, who charted the legacy of Hoxha's Albanian dictatorship, reminds us that the Balkans is a storehouse of European literature

By Julian Evans   July 2005

If literature is the swirl of history that seeks to deflect us from its own fatal maelstroms, then Ismail Kadare is a worthy laureate of the first Man Booker international prize, announced on 2nd June. The prize, to be given biennially and to complement Man Booker’s annual prize for new fiction, recognises writers’ “achievement in literature and their significant influence on writers and readers worldwide.” The Albanian Kadare’s fulfilment of the second part of that encomium could be seen as more latent than actual; this most unknown of European novelists (there are so few translators of Albanian into English that…

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