The doll : a portrait of my mother / Ismail Kadare ; translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson.

by Kadare, Ismail,

Format: Print Book 2020
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
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CLP - Downtown First Floor - Fiction Collection FICTION Kadare
Location  CLP - Downtown
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Collection
Call Number  FICTION Kadare
CLP - Main Library First Floor - Fiction Stacks FICTION Kadare
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Stacks
Call Number  FICTION Kadare

In this autobiographical novel, Albania's most renowned novelist and poet Ismail Kadare explores his relationship with his mother in a delicately wrought tale of home, family, creative aspirations, and personal and political freedom.

"Houses like ours seemed constructed with the specific purpose of preserving coldness and misunderstanding for as long as possible."

In his father's great stone house with hidden rooms and even a dungeon, Ismail grows up with his mother at the center of his universe. Fragile as a paper doll, she finds herself at odds with her tight-lipped and wise mother-in-law who, as is the custom for women of a certain age, will never again step foot over the threshold to leave her home. Young Ismail finds it difficult to understand his mother's tears, though he can understand her boredom. She told him the reason herself in a phrasethat terrified and obsessed the boy: "The house is eating me up!"

As Ismail explores his world, his mother becomes fearful of her intellectual son--he uses words she does not understand, writes radical poetry, falls in love far too easily, and seems to renounce everything she believes in. He will, she fears, have to exchange her for some other superior mother when he becomes a famous writer.

The Doll is a delicate and disarming autobiographical novel, an exploration of Kadare's creative aspirations and their tangled connections to his childhood home and his mother's tenuous place within it.

Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Kadare's wistful, introspective family portrait (after A Girl in Exile) combines fiction and memoir as he recollects his childhood in Gjirokastra, Albania, and early writing career in Tirana while imagining his mother's early life. Kadare calls his mother "the Doll" because she is light as paper; everything about her, in fact, is light: her clothes, her speech, and her sighs. As a 17-year-old bride in 1933, having come from a family lacking in rich history (the groom's great grandfather was immortalized in a song) though better off than the Kadares, the Doll hates her new husband's centuries-old family house with its dungeon, secret passages, and forbidden recesses. A palpable chill develops between her and another resident of the house, the Doll's mother-in-law. After the dowager dies in 1953, teenage Ismail moves with his parents to an apartment in Tirana. When Ismail gains attention for his poetry, his mother worries that he will neglect her. Later, she tries to get him to marry a woman she meets, and he resists. Kadare offers illuminating reminiscences of his literary development, describing the temptation of forbidden western literature under communist rule and his habit of writing ad campaigns for his books before they were finished ("The century's most demonic novel" was his pitch for the first novel he began writing in a notebook). Kadare's rich portrayal of his mother dovetails neatly with that of communist Albania, full of conflicts and incongruities. Kadare's fans will relish this slim, enigmatic snapshot of the author's origins. (Nov.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Mothers and sons -- Fiction.
Families -- Fiction.
Children -- Fiction.
Reminiscing -- Fiction.
Conflict of generations -- Fiction.
Self-realization in women -- Fiction.
Albania -- Fiction.
Autobiographical fiction.
Publisher Berkley, California :2020
Edition First Counterpoint paperback edition.
Other Titles Kukulla.
Contributors Hodgson, John, 1951- translator.
Language English
In English, translated from the Albanian.
Notes Translation of: Kukulla.
Description 175 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN 9781640094222
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