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A novel which arose from the author’s ambition to invent a hell of his own, Kadare’s macabre vision of tyranny and oppression was banned immediately when it first appeared in Albania in 1981. Translated by Barbara Bray from the French version of the Albanianby Jusuf Vrioni

At the heart of the Sultan’s vast but fragile empire stands the mysterious Palace of Dreams: the most secret and powerful Ministry ever invented. Its task is to scour every town, village and hamlet to collect the citizens’ dreams, then to sift, sort and classify them, and ultimately to interpret them, in order to identify the “master-dreams” that will provide the clues to the Empire’s destinies and those of its Monarch. An entire nation’s consciousness is thus tapped into and meticulously laid bare in the form of images and symbols of the dreaming mind.

Kadare’s Palace of Dreams stands as the symbol of the thought-police who have, through history, been the most effective instruments of oppression at the service of dictators.


"Kadare's most daring novel, one of the most complete visions of totalitarianism ever committed to paper" Jean-Christophe Castelli, Vanity Fair

"If there is a book worth banning in a dictatorship, this is it" Julian Evans, Guardian

"Kadare's delicately misted view of another world (as much internal as totalitarian) lives up to the splendour of his title" Julian Duplain, Independent on Sunday

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    December 15, 2008

    Vintage Classics

    192 pages

    RRP $19.99

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  • EBook


    February 1, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    192 pages

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