“The Traitor’s Niche” by Ismail Kadare: A Disturbing and Humorous Tale of Rebellion and Tyranny

On Art and Aesthetics

Ismail Kadare by User “Albinfo”, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia

I’ve got the habit of randomly pairing up art forms with countries – and looking up the combination on Wikipedia. It could be anything – painting in Chile, cinema in Madagascar. Once I did “literature in Albania” and the most memorable name I encountered was that of Ismail Kadare.

Kadare was born in 1936 in Gjirokastër in southern Albania and attended the University of Tirana as well as the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow. He is regarded as one of the most important European intellectuals of the twentieth century, having mainly spent his literary career interrogating and attacking totalitarianism and its mechanisms.

Kadare’s most critically acclaimed book is The General of the Dead Army (1963). Over the years, he has won several big international awards – the Man Booker International Prize (2005), the Prince of Asturias Award (2009), the…

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