Magazine article New Internationalist

A Girl in Exile

Magazine article New Internationalist

A Girl in Exile

Article excerpt

A Girl in Exile by Ismail Kadare, translated by John Hodgson (Harvill Secker, ISBN 978-846558467)

The Albanian poet and novelist Ismail Kadare once famously declared that 'the writer is the natural enemy of dictatorship.' His latest novel, A Girl in Exile, explores that antagonism by way of a strange tale of obsession and friendship, set in the latter years of communist rule in Albania. The hero, Linda, is interned in a provincial backwater for political reasons: she is of bourgeois stock, and has been deemed a 'class enemy' by association. Prohibited from entering the capital city, she becomes infatuated with Rudian, a successful playwright in Tirana whom she has never met but who embodies the cosmopolitan life she desperately craves. Unable to reach him directly, she lives vicariously through her best friend, Migena, who embarks on an affair with the playwright. …

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