The traitor's niche : a novel

by Kadare, Ismail,

Format: Print Book 2018
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library First Floor - Fiction Stacks FICTION Kadare
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Stacks
Call Number  FICTION Kadare
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Fiction KADARE Ismail
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  KADARE Ismail

"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." -- The New Yorker

"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." -- The New York Times

At the heart of the Ottoman Empire, in the main square of Constantinople, a niche is carved into ancient stone. Here, the sultan displays the severed heads of his adversaries. People flock to see the latest head and gossip about the state of the empire: the province of Albania is demanding independence again, and the niche awaits a new trophy . . .

Tundj Hata, the imperial courier, is charged with transporting heads to the capital--a task he relishes and performs with fervor. As he travels through obscure and impoverished territories, he makes money from illicit side-shows, offering villagers the spectacle of death. The head of the rebellious Albanian governor would fetch a very high price indeed.

The Traitor's Niche is a surreal tale of tyranny and rebellion, in a land where armies carry scarecrows, state officials ban entire languages, and the act of forgetting is more complicated than remembering.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The latest of Kadare's tales to appear in English is, among other things, a meditation on severed heads. Removed from their bodies for displeasing the sultan, human heads are carefully displayed on a stone gate in central Constantinople, steps from the Central State Archive, where their unblinking eyes horrify, and perhaps surveil, passersby. The heads entail their own bureaucracy. Abdulla inspects them twice daily in accordance with the official Regulations for the Care of Heads, wary that the anonymity afforded by his low-level function will not shield him from harsh consequences should he mess up. Head-courier Tundj Hata, by contrast, revels in the spectacle that follows when he passes through the countryside, allowing glimpses at his gory cargo for those who line his pockets. But the head (of state) around which the story truly orbits is that of Black Ali, the geriatric ruler of faraway Albania, whose rebellion against the Ottoman Empire, though futile, has triggered an asymmetric response from the government ministry responsible for subduing rebellion through the destruction of language, culture, and collective memory. Initially published in 1978, this selection, long-listed for the Man Booker, is the last of Kadare's three Ottoman cycle works (The Fall of the Stone City, 2013; Girl in Exile: Requiem for Linda B, 2018) to appear in translation, and with its allegorical style, dark humor, and muscular commentary on contemporary Albania under Enver Hoxha, it is very much classic Kadare.--Driscoll, Brendan Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Forty years after its first publication, Kadare's magisterial novel is available in English. Set during the height of the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople, the novel opens by introducing Abdullah, who tends to the niche in a Constantinople square where the heads of the empire's enemies are displayed for tourists and to discourage would-be rebels. But Albania still resists Ottoman rule under the leadership of Ali Tepelena, its governor. After he is executed, his head is entrusted to courier Tunj Hata, who is charged with bringing it to the Traitor's Niche. On the way, Hata has surreal adventures while earning a little extra money by displaying the head at the small villages between Albania and his destination at the heart of the empire. Once Hata's quest is completed, Kadare turns his attention to those whose cultures face extinction under the law, cutting between Hata, Abdullah, the late Ali in his final hours, and Ali's wife Vasiliqia. In so doing, Kadare brilliantly examines the private cost of despotism while illustrating a crucial episode in the history of Albania. Kadare's powerful, nimble novel is a gem. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Turkey -- History -- Ottoman Empire, 1288-1918 -- Fiction.
Albania -- History -- Fiction.
Historical fiction.
Publisher Berkely, California :Counterpoint Press,2018
Edition First Counterpoint edition.
Other Titles Pashallëqet e mëdha.
Contributors Hodgson, John, 1951- translator.
Language English
Description 200 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9781640090446
Other Classic View