A haunting yet humorous evocation of a society dangerously trapped in its past.
Society in rural Albania in the early 1930s had evolved little since the Middle Ages. What better place in which two Irish-American scholars might study the tradition of oral poetry, in the hope of understanding how the Homeric epics came to be composed and handed down, to elucidate the strange commerce between memory and forgetting. The small country town through which they pass, and the remote inn that serves as their base, are not left unaffected, however, by their presence. The two dedicated scholars realise only too late that they have stumbled over an ants' nest.
This simple tale by Albania's most eminent and gifted novelist serves to lift the veil on one of the most secret and mysterious countries of modern Europe.
“''Eloquent, engaging and poignant'”
“'A wicked and amusing satire of provincial life...it is also an elegiac celebration of the power of poetry'”
Times Literary Supplement
“'Witty and touching. It consolidates Kadare's reputation as one of the finest writers to emerge from communist Europe'”