Dictator Calls

Kadare, Ismail


1 in stock

1 in stock

The new novel from first winner of International Man Booker, inspired by three minutes in June 1934 when Joseph Stalin allegedly called Boris Pasternak. A fascinating meditation on Soviet Russia, authoritarianism, power structures and a period of great writers.

‘Comrade Stalin wishes to speak with you.’

In June 1934, Joseph Stalin allegedly called Boris Pasternak wishing to speak about the arrest of the Soviet poet Osip Mandelstam. A Dictator Calls explores the afterlife of this three-minute phone call in accounts by witnesses and reporters, such as Isaiah Berlin and Anna Akhmatova, wives and mistresses, biographers, and KGB archivists.

‘A little time ago the poet Mandelstam was arrested. What have you to say to that, Comrade Pasternak?’

In Kadare’s masterly analysis, the telephone conversation serves as the basis for a gripping meditation on power structures and how literature and authoritarianism construct themselves in plain sight of one another.

Born in 1936, Ismail turns 87 in January 2023. Albania’s best-known poet and novelist, he was awarded the inaugural Man Booker International Prize in 2005 for ‘a body of work written by an author who has had a truly global impact.’ Kadare also received the 2020 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. He now lives in Tirana.

‘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.’ Los Angeles Times.

Translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson

Format: Hardback
Pages: 224
Imprint: Harvill Secker UK
Publication date: 31/08/2023

ISBN: 9781787303638 Category: