> Skip to content

A stunning, deeply affecting portrait of life and love under surveillance, infused with myth, wry humour and the chilling absurdity of a paranoid regime.

When a girl is found dead with a signed copy of Rudian Stefa’s latest book in her possession, the author finds himself summoned for an interview by the Party Committee. Unable to guess what transgression he has committed Rudian goes fearfully to meet his interrogators. He has never met the girl in question but he remembers signing the book. As the influence of a paranoid regime steals up on him, Rudian finds himself swept along on a surreal quest to discover what really happened to the mysterious girl to whom he wrote the dedication – to Linda B.


Powerful, empathetic, at times harrowing... executed with an elegant combination of horror, absurdity, indignation, and other-worldliness... A chilling, humane and strangely beautiful work


[Kadare] captures the paranoid nature of life under constant surveillance...and produces an ironic masterpiece

Daily Mail

Filled with striking images and conceits… a powerful Kafkaesque charge… Kadare’s imaginative intelligence ensures that it is chilling and intriguing

Theo Tait, Sunday Times

A compelling amalgam of realism, dreaminess and elegiac, white-hot fury. Kadare communicates with awful immediacy the nature of tyranny and the accommodations that those subject to it must make - as Kadare himself had to do

John Banville, Financial Times

The literature Kadare has produced in the face of obstacles lesser writers would find insuperable, is, genuinely, of world significance... Invites comparison with Milan Kundera's recent satire on Stalinism, The Festival of Insignificance. Both writers are favourites, year-in, year-out for the Nobel prize. Kadare will not damage his prospects with A Girl in Exile

John Sutherland, The Times

Coolly ironic writing, which traverses ominous themes of censorship and state control… Kadare masterfully conjures an atmosphere of paranoia… This powerful novel is a monument

Francesca Wade, Daily Telegraph

Melodrama, tragedy and myth illuminate the relationship between individual and state in a fine novel from the great Albanian writer


Kadare is a master at braiding narrative strands… A Girl in Exile is one of Kadare’s best novels, and essential reading for our morally uneasy times’

Alberto Manguel, Times Literary Supplement

Kadare’s fiction evades ideologies, escaping into richer realms of the past, of myth, folklore and dystopian fantasy. At their best, his works are certainly subversive; but they cannot be pigeonholed, even into that worthy category… it is profoundly intriguing — not least in the suggestion of the deep imaginative complicity with one’s subject matter that is needed by every true writer

Caroline Moore, Spectator

The intricate mystery that ensues has a mythical dimension: Kadare doesn’t gloss the setting or period and he makes you work hard to figure out what’s actually happening, let alone what it might mean… While the contortions of totalitarianism are vivid…It’s the surreal psychosexual element that unsettles you most

Anthony Cummins, Prospect

Kadare is a writer who excels in the cataloguing of human errors and horrors… [His] work remains peculiar, local and challenging… The prose is pleasingly odd, the locutions and idioms strained and startling

Ian Sansom, Guardian

Closer to the heart of the mystery, mythic allusions and one horribly convincing central concept confer a new power on an increasingly unusual tale

John Hughes Wilson, Herald

A withering indictment of the absurdity of totalitarianism and the plodding cowardice of its apparatchiks, and a poignant tribute to lives senselessly wrecked by the psychopathic officiousness of dogma… It is an affirmation of the dissident power of the writer word, which can be repressed but never effaced

New Internationalist

In its primal eeriness feels like something found in an ancient ballad… The novel seem[s] to live in two planes; the body’s, constrained by politics and violence, and the soul’s, where anything is possible. If this is a kind of freedom, Kadare shows that it comes at a terrible price

Adam Kirsch, New Statesman

Blending Kafkaesque paranoia and sombre humanism, A Girl in Exile is a withering indictment of the absurdity of totalitarianism and the plodding cowardice of its apparatchiks, and a poignant tribute to lives senselessly wrecked by the psychopathic officiousness of dogma. Above all, though, it is an affirmation of the dissident power of the written word, which can be repressed but never effaced

Houman Barekat, New Internationalist

Will this be the year when Ismail Kadare finally gets his Nobel? Maybe A Girl in Exile…will help

Arminta Wallace, Irish Times

A Girl in Exile is the work of a historic talent who is still at the peak of his power. It confirms Kadare to be the best writer at work today who remembers—almost aggressively so, refusing to forget—European totalitarianism.

The New Republic, Josephine Livingstone

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    April 15, 2017


    192 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    March 26, 2016

    Vintage Digital

    192 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks

Also by Ismail Kadare