Agamemnon’s Daughter

Publisher: Anchor Canada
Now in paperback, one of the novels that garnered Kadare the inaugural Man Booker International Prize for fiction, plus two stunning new stories.
     Agamemnon's Daughter is an impeccably crafted, psychologically incisive tale of a disappointed lover's odyssey through a single day and his gradual realization of how the utter cruelty of dictatorship can express itself even in matters of the heart.
     The day begins as the unnamed narrator waits in vain for his lover Suzana, daughter of "The Successor," even though he knows that she will have to sacrifice their love for her father's success. As he moves through the crowded streets on the great socialist holiday, May 1st, the narrator recalls episodes of his life that illustrate the vast system of absurdity, paranoia, and cruelty that was Albania under dictator Enver Hoxha.
     Finally, as he watches Suzana in her decorated viewing box, the narrator realizes what her sacrifice truly means. Like that of Agamemnon's daughter Iphigenia, which loosed the bloody nine years of the Trojan War, Suzana's will serve to open a new floodgate of persecution and purging, from which no one will be safe.
     This book also showcases two stories by this European master of fiction, "The Blinding Order," a parable about the uses of terror set in the Ottoman Empire, and "The Great Wall," a chilling duet between a Chinese official and a soldier in the invading army of the great Central Asian conqueror of the 14th century, Tamerlane.


From outside came sounds of holiday music, bustling crowds and shuffling feet – the special medley of a mass of ­people on their way to the start of a parade.

For perhaps the tenth time in a row, I cautiously pulled the curtain aside. There had been no change in what was to be seen in the street: a slow-...
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