Synopses & Reviews
In 1958, Kadare was selected to pursue his writing and literary studies as a graduate student in Moscow at the prestigious Gorky Institute for World Literature. Twilight of the Eastern Gods
is Kadare's fictionalized recreation of his time spent at this "factory of the intellect," a place created to produce a new generation of poets, novelists, and playwrights, all adhering to the state-sanctioned socialist realist” aesthetic.
During his time at the Gorky Institute, a kind of miniature Soviet Union where writers from deepest Siberia, Kazakhstan, and the Caucasus all came to study, Kadare was caught up in the furore over Boris Pasternak's Nobel Prize win, when the Soviet Union demanded that Pasternak refuse the foreign, bourgeois award, or be sentenced to exile. Kadares time at the Institute, the drunken nights, corrupt professors, and enforced aesthetics are fictionalized in a novel that entwines Russian and Albanian myth with history. Twilight of the Eastern Gods is a portrait of a city and a story of youth, disenchantment, and the incredible importance of the written word.
Praise for Twilight of the Eastern Gods
Kadares novels are full of startlingly beautiful lines . . . bracingly original similes swarm with an apparent casualness. . . . gloomy and death-obsessed, but also frequently hilarious. . . . it reminded me of Roberto Bolaños The Savage Detectives locked in a freezer, or a version of Adelle Waldmans The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. set in a Brooklyn where it was always snowing, all the young writers in the city lived in the same building, everyone regularly consumed debilitating quantities of vodka, and each was suspected of being a government informer.”Christian Lorentzen, New York Times Book Review
An interesting insider view of one of the more famous periods of twentieth-century literature. . . .Readers are left not with any great insights, but instead with a sense of slow-motion, Kafkaesque torpor. . . . readers will come away from Twilight of the Eastern Gods with a better understanding of what it was like for one writer to trudge along under Nikita Khrushchevs thumb.” Washington Independent Review of Books
A brilliant . . . treatment of Soviet literary culture during the later Leonid Brezhnev years.”The Millions
Personal and inventive and only lightly fictionalized.”The Herald (Scotland)
Praise for Ismail Kadare:
An incisive, biting work. . . . refines our understanding of satires nature.”NPR, on The Fall of the Stone City
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.”New York Times, on The Accident
Ismail Kadare is one of Europes most consistently interesting and powerful contemporary novelists, a writer whose stark, memorable prose imprints itself on the readers consciousness.”Los Angeles Times, on The Siege
A dreamworld where history and fiction come together . . . Ismail Kadares subject, as always, is the presence of the past. . . . more astonishing and truthful than any mere documentary chronicle.”Guardian, on The Fall of the Stone City
[Kadares] fiction offers invaluable insights into life under tyranny. . . . But his books are of more than just political statementat his best he is a great writer, by any nations standards.”Financial Times, on The Siege
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.”New Yorker, on The Accident
About the Author
was born in Albania in 1936. His first novel, The General of the Dead Army
, established him as a major international voice in literature. His work has since been translated into forty languages, and in 2005 he became the first winner of the Man Booker International Prize, for "a body of work written by an author who has had a truly global impact." He is the recipient of the highly prestigious Principe de Asturias de las Letras in Spain.
David Bellos, Director of the Program of Translation at Princeton University, is also the translator of Georges Perec's Life A User's Manual, and the author of the celebrated book on translation, Is That A Fish In Your Ear?. He has translated seven of Kadare's novels.