Read The File On H by Ismail Kadare Free Online
Book Title: The File On H|
Date of issue: June 1st 1997
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
The author of the book: Ismail Kadare
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 940 KB
Edition: Harvill Press
Read full description of the books The File On H:The plot of this novel, written in 1981, is set sometime during the 1930s.
In a sleepy provincial town near to the foothills of the Accursed Mountains in northern Albania, the Governor's wife is languishing in her bathtub, fantasizing about the two (young, she hopes) Irish scholars who are about to arrive in the town. Maybe, they will provide her with an opportunity for a romantic adventure. Her husband is charged with the job of arranging unobtrusive but close surveillance of the two foreigners. Who knows - they might be spies.
They arrive, but only stay in the town for one night. Their destination is an isolated inn on the road that leads towards the interior of the desolate Accursed Mountains.
The two scholars hope to meet the 'rhapsodes', itinerant performers of timeless unwritten epic poems that pass from one singer to another and from generation to generation. They have brought a tape recorder with them - an object that arouses great curiosity and suspicion amongst all whom they meet. The scholars are of the opinion that the Albanian epic poems might be the descendants - or maybe the predecessors - of those recorded by Homer in ancient times. As they meet and record the rhapsodes, Kadare allows us to eavesdrop, as does the spy sent by the Governor, on their musings about the origins of Homer's verse and the mechanics of transmission of these timeless epics from singer to singer and down the ages. For example, what is remembered and what is forgotten each time the same epic story is repeated from memory? And, what is added? And why?
Kadare's novel was written in Tirana in 1981 when Albania was being ruled by the fiercely repressive regime of Enver Hoxha. It describes a time when the country was under the thumb of another fiercely paranoid dictator, King Zog, and therefore draws obvious parallels with Hoxha's era. Maybe, it's not surprising that Kadare needed to leave Albania to seek asylum in France by the end of the 1980s. Kadare reveals to the reader in his customarily concise way the cold paranoid atmosphere which Albanians had to endure during Hoxha's 'reign'. In addition to this, the author renders obscure aspects of Homeric scholarship crystal clear to readers like me, who have never ever had reason to think about Homer.
I have read a number of Kadare's novels, and enjoyed all of them, but this is the best of them all ... so far! I was sad to have reached the end of it.
PS Those who are interested in Albania per se might like to look at my book, ALBANIA ON MY MIND.
Read information about the authorIsmail Kadare (also spelled Kadaré) is an Albanian novelist and poet. He has been a leading literary figure in Albania since the 1960s. He focused on short stories until the publication of his first novel, The General of the Dead Army. In 1996 he became a lifetime member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of France. In 1992, he was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca; in 2005, he won the inaugural Man Booker International Prize, in 2009 the Prince of Asturias Award of Arts, and in 2015 the Jerusalem Prize. He has divided his time between Albania and France since 1990. Kadare has been mentioned as a possible recipient for the Nobel Prize in Literature several times. His works have been published in about 30 languages.
Ismail Kadare was born in 1936 in Gjirokastër, in the south of Albania. His education included studies at the University of Tirana and then the Gorky Institute for World Literature in Moscow, a training school for writers and critics.
In 1960 Kadare returned to Albania after the country broke ties with the Soviet Union, and he became a journalist and published his first poems.
His first novel, The General of the Dead Army, sprang from a short story, and its success established his name in Albania and enabled Kadare to become a full-time writer.
Kadare's novels draw on Balkan history and legends. They are obliquely ironic as a result of trying to withstand political scrutiny. Among his best known books are Chronicle in Stone (1977), Broken April (1978), and The Concert (1988), considered the best novel of the year 1991 by the French literary magazine Lire.
In 1990, Kadare claimed political asylum in France, issuing statements in favour of democratisation. During the ordeal, he stated that "dictatorship and authentic literature are incompatible. The writer is the natural enemy of dictatorship."
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