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, and the Jerusalem Prize in 2015.
JOHN HODGSON studied at Cambridge and Newcastle and has taught at the universities of Prishtina and Tirana. This is the fifth novel by Ismail Kadare that he has translated.
"Some of the most pleasurable parts of The Doll arise from Kadare's obvious thrill in revisiting Gjirokaster, the enchanting town of his birth, and reviving its interwar years, when the Doll was young . . . The reader finds voyeuristic intrigue in the procession that accompanied her on her first post-nuptial visit home to her father, and in her mother-in-law's announcement that, as a woman of a certain age, she would never again leave the house . . . Delicate . . . Rewarding." --Elisabeth Zerofsky, The New York Times Book Review
"Kadare's wistful, introspective family portrait (after A Girl in Exile) combines fiction and memoir as he recollects his childhood in Gjirokastra, Albania, and early writing career in Tirana while imagining his mother's early life . . . Kadare's rich portrayal of his mother dovetails neatly with that of communist Albania, full of conflicts and incongruities. Kadare's fans will relish this slim, enigmatic snapshot of the author's origins." --Publishers Weekly
"Intimately explores the ways his mother influenced both his personality and art . . . A slight, slippery, mordant elegy for an emotionally distant mother." --Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Ismail Kadare:
"Kadare is inevitably linked to Orwell and Kundera, but he is a far deeper ironist than the first, and a better storyteller than the second. He is a compellingly ironic storyteller because he so brilliantly summons details that explode with symbolic reality." --The New Yorker
"The name of the Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare regularly comes up at Nobel Prize time, and he is still a good bet to win it one of these days . . . He is seemingly incapable of writing a book that fails to be interesting." --The New York Times
"Ismail Kadare is one of Europe's most consistently interesting and powerful contemporary novelists, a writer whose stark, memorable prose imprints itself on the reader's consciousness." --The Los Angeles Times
"[Kadare's] fiction offers invaluable insights into life under tyranny . . . But his books are of more than just political statement--at his best he is a great writer, by any nation's standards." --Financial Times
"Kadare's fiction evades ideologies, escaping into richer realms of the past, or myth, folklore and dystopian fantasy." --Spectator
"Ismail Kadare is this generation's Kafka." --Independent
"He has been compared to Gogol, Kafka, and Orwell. But Kadare's is an original voice, universal yet deeply rooted in his own soil." --Independent on Sunday
"Ismail Kadare made his name as a forceful example of how to function as a writer under late communism. He trod a delicate line between censorship and lies by critiquing the Stalinism of Enver Hoxha's Albania through fable, allegory and historical transposition, sometimes throwing the dictator a bone, and escaping dissident status by virtue of his international success." --Independent
"A Master storyteller." --John Carey, author of The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life
"One of the world's greatest living writers." --Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of One Night in Winter