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A Dictator Calls by Ismail Kadare

A Dictator Calls by Ismail Kadare

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A fascinating meditation on Soviet Russia, authoritarianism, power structures and a period of great writers. Translated from Albanian by John Hodgson.

'Comrade Stalin wishes to speak with you.' In June 1934, Joseph Stalin allegedly telephoned the famous novelist and poet Boris Pasternak to discuss the arrest of fellow Soviet poet Osip Mandelstam. In a fascinating combination of dreams and dossier facts, Ismail Kadare reconstructs the three minutes they spoke and the aftershocks of this tense, mysterious moment in modern history. Weaving together the accounts of witnesses, reporters and writers such as Isaiah Berlin and Anna Akhmatova, Kadare tells a gripping story of power and political structures, of the relationship between writers and tyranny.

The telling brings to light uncanny parallels with Kadare's experience writing under dictatorship, when he received an unexpected phone call of his own.

Publication: 31 August 2023, Vintage, Harvill Secker

ISBN: 9781787303638

Extent: 240 pages

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