Ismail Kadare

The Doll
  • The Doll

  • From the winner of the first ever Man Booker International Prize: 'a novelist of dazzling mastery' (Independent)

    At the centre of young Ismail’s world is the unknowable figure of his mother. Naïve and fragile as a paper doll, she is an unlikely presence in her husband’s great stone house, with its hidden rooms and infamous dungeon, and is constantly at odds with her wise and thin-lipped mother-in-law. But despite her lightness and unchanging youthful nature, she is not without her own enigmas.

    Most of all, she fears that her intellectual son – who uses words she doesn’t understand, publishes radical poetry, falls in love freely and seems to be renouncing everything she embodies of the old world – will have to exchange her for a superior mother when he becomes a famous writer.

    Dedicated to the memory of his mother and circling back to his childhood in Albania, The Doll is Ismail Kadare’s delicate and disarming tale of home and creative longing, of writerly aspiration, and of personal and political freedom.

RELEASED 16/01/2020

Ismail Kadare, born in 1936 in the mountain town of Gjirokastër, near the Greek border, is Albania's best-known poet and novelist. Since the appearance of The General of the Dead Army in 1965, Kadare has published scores of stories and novels that make up a panorama of Albanian history linked by a constant meditation on the nature of the human consequences of dictatorship. Kadare's works brought him into frequent conflict with the authorities from 1945 to 1985. In 1990 he sought political asylum in France, and now divides his time between Paris and Tirana. He is the winner of the inaugural Man Booker International Prize.