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The Siege

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3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,020 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews
The Siege by Ismail Kadare, winner of the Man Booker International Prize (2005)

In the early fifteenth century, as winter falls away, the people of Albania know that their fate is sealed. They have refused to negotiate with the Ottoman Empire, and war is now inevitable. Soon enough dust kicked up by Turkish horses is spotted from a citadel. Brightly coloured banners, hastil
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Hardcover, 236 pages
Published May 15th 2008 by Canongate Books (first published 1970)
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Ahmed
Jun 05, 2015 Ahmed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

أنا لم أسمع بالكاتب قبل ذلك . ولم أكن أعرف حتى جنسيته. كل ما لفت نظرى انه حائز على جائزة البوكر الدوليه . وتجاربى مع هذه الجائزة مبشرة جدا. فأخذت الكتاب لأجد ان المؤلف ألبانى ولم يسبق لى الاطلاع على أدب هذه المنطقه بالذات .
ليكون لى الحظ فى قراءة عمل من أعظم ما يكون على الاطلاق
دائما العمل الروائى الممزوج بتاريخ مرحله معينه يكون امام احتمالين لا ثالث لهما: اما ان يكون العمل عظيم او يكون عمل سئ ولا وسط بينهما
وهذا العمل عظيم بكل ما تحمله الكلمة من معنى.
تحكى عن فترة الفتح العثمانى لألبانيا .
ترجمه
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أشرف فقيه
Aug 28, 2011 أشرف فقيه rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
هذه رواية عظيمة.. ليس كرواية تاريخية وحسب وليس لأنها تبدع في وصف محض "حصار".. لكن إسماعيل كاداريه وخلال الحملة العثمانية التي اختلقها على قلعة ما في القلب الألباني قد نجح أن ينقل لنا روح ذاك العصر بأسره، متجسدة في فلسفة الامبراطورية، فلسفة التوسع، فلسفة الحصار والإبادة وفلسفة المقاومة. إنه قد نجح في أن يجعلنا نفهم جوهر هويته الألبانية المتنازعة بين استحقاقات ماضيها المسيحي البعيد، والعثماني الأقرب منه، ونجح في أن ينقل لنا كل مبررات اللبس والارتباك والتشتت التي تعتري تلك الهوية خلال فصول روايته. ...more
Fahad
Dec 09, 2012 Fahad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
الحصار

في كل مرة تقرأ فيها كتاباً تاريخياً يجب أن تنتبه إلى أن المؤلف إذ يلاحق الأحداث والدول والقادة والمعارك ينسى الإنسان، وليس هذا خطئه، فدوره هو في أن يدون المعلومة التاريخية، أو يحققها، أو يحاول استخلاص مغزى أو معنى منها، أما عن الإنسان الذي عاش ومات، عانى، ضحك وبكى، حلم ثم مات فدفن ودفنت أحلامه، بل ربما دفنت مدينته ذاتها من بعده، وصارت أطلالاً موحشة، هذا الإنسان لن يستعيده لنا إلا الروائي، وحده هو من سينقض على ما كتبه المؤرخ، ينبشه، يفككه، يعيد بعثه، ليجعل أبطاله يعيشون هناك، كأنما بعثت تل
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Eslammohammed
لو سألتنى عن أهم ما يميز كتابة كاداريه، سأجيبك بإيجاز السلاسة والعذوبة، البساطة والعمق، السهل الممتنع إجمالا...ف سرده لقصة حصار جيش اﻹمبراطورية العثمانية ﻹحدى القلاع اﻷلبانية، المدخل إلى منطقة البلقان، اتسم كاداريه بأهم مايميز كبار المبدعين، الدقة، الشمول، الحس الجمالى، القيمة اﻹنسانية...جاء تركيز كاداريه على جانب الجيش العثمانى، وصفا، وهو ما أبدع فيه، وتحليلا، وحصرا، وتفسيرا، مع إشارات ضمنية موجزة للجانب اﻷلبانى، وهو ماقد يعد قصورا ف المعالجة من وجهة نظر، وذكاء وإيجازا من وجهة نظر أخرى... رسم ا ...more
Shane
Sep 15, 2010 Shane rated it really liked it
The author claims that this is not a historical novel, and yet the story is set in the mid 15th century and is a primer on the methods of warfare used at the time. It is also a metaphor for Albania during its Communist rule in the 20th century, for although the invading Ottoman empire circa 1474 is portrayed as the bad guy, the implication and insinuation is that this totalitarian empire is a reflection of later day Albania itself.

In a nutshell, an Albanian fortress is besieged by an invading Ot
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Cristina Bettencourt
Jul 20, 2012 Cristina Bettencourt rated it it was amazing
My favorite book by this author. He seems to be able to recreate the mentality and the perspective people may have had in those times. He makes me "feel" with them regardless of the fact that I am submerged in my zeitgeist, and in principle a bad neutral observer. This combined with a compelling writing style.
Fatima Alammar
Jan 10, 2014 Fatima Alammar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
رواية محشوّة بالأفكار والأسئلة، لاهبة بحمم الحرب ودوّي الطبول والمدافع، مصاغة بنَفَس شاعريّ لافت، تنفذ عميقا في أوردة وشرايين الشخصيات المبتلاة بالمشاركة في حصار طويل، ممضّ، وقاسي:
تلفتك شخصية مؤرخ الحملة، بكل حساسيته وقلقه وخجله وارتباكه ومثابرته وانشغاله الذهنيّ وتساؤلاته. المهندس جياور (نموذج رجل العلم والتخصص) بوجهه الجامد، الخالي من التعابير، وبكلامه الذي تُبتر فيه الألفاظ "يصفّها صفا بلا أدنى مسافة أو فاصلة وينطقها بإيقاع موحّد لا يتبدّل، إن في حديثه الرتيب المرهق شيئا من الصحراء". ضابط ال
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Val
Dec 17, 2014 Val rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-tour, world-tbc
Ismail Kadaré often used Albanian history and legends as the setting for his novels. This one is about attempts to withstand a siege by Ottoman forces and shows the inhabitants of the beleaguered town. It may be an allegory of modern times, but it is not clear exactly what it might be an allegory of. Albania was a Maoist communist country caught between the powerful Soviet powers and their allies and the capitalist force of Europe and US global trade. Who did Ismail Kadaré see as the aggressive ...more
Abeer alkhalil

لم تتخللها لغة تنسيني وحشية تفاصيلها الموضوع الحرب والحصار وضياع
قيمة الإنسانية .. ربما وكوني فتاة لم تصلني حروفها لليوم احتقر كل من يبجل الحروب وأن كانت بضرورة كما
يزعمون !

تذكرت كيف إني اقرأ بتحرر من العواطف تاركة التقييم للعقل والفائدة
وهنا لم أستفد والذنب ليس ذنب الكاتب ولكنه ذنب الموضوع حيث تولى الأهمية للسرد التوثيقي
وأنا كإنسانة أنتظر أحداث من بشر تذكرني بماهيتي ولو بلحظات بسيطة ...
تقفز من بين حطام النفس هامسة أو صارخة ندم أو تقرف مما يحدث وليعود بعدها لسرده المتخم
بالآلات والإنتصارات الحربية
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Michael
Nov 27, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-translation
This may seem like a straight forward historical novel about a citadel in Albania under seige from the mighty Ottaman Empire, but it is so much more than that.

Written originally in 1970 in Albania just after the Soviets had shattered the Prague uprising in Czechoslovakia, it is one of the best critics of hostile invasion and control you will ever read.

Considering the original was Albanian and it was updated in french in the mid 90s a big congratulations to all the translators involved.
Michelle
Sep 12, 2015 Michelle rated it it was ok
Kadare has depicted a subtle commentary on politics and war through a fictionalised period in history.
Although definitely not my favourite type of story to read, as it is about a siege, as the title states, and the descriptions of the attack on the citadel were long and repetitive, there were a few sections that were truly a pleasure to read. I particularly liked reading the Quartermaster's "heretical" confidences to the chronicler who pushed such thoughts away and insisted on describing the sei
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Adam
This novel by the Albanian author Ismail Kadare is set during the 15th century when Albania was being attacked by the Ottoman Turks, and the heroic Albanian leader Skanderbeg was still actively fighting the attackers. The edition that I have read was originally written between 1969 and 1970 when albania was being ruled by the repressive dictator, and friend of Stalin, Enver Hoxha. The version that I read was modified by the author between 1993 and 1994 when Enver Hoxha's regime was over. The ori ...more
Yazeed AlMogren
Jul 27, 2014 Yazeed AlMogren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
تسحرك دقة التفاصيل وجمالها في هذه الرواية، نصوص فاخرة واتقان المترجم في ترجمة نصوصها جعلتها رواية تاريخية ممتعة لاتمل منها، تنقلك أحداث الحصار بين ضباط الجيشين المتحاربين لتظهر لك بسالة المدافعين الألبان في صد الهجوم والدفاع عن أرضهم وبين شدة عزم الأتراك والرغبة في إحتلال القلعة المحاصرة.
Amanda Lila
Jun 13, 2013 Amanda Lila rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm gonna have to re-read this... And I don't feel so happy about it!

Saleh Alasfour
Sep 08, 2014 Saleh Alasfour rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
المترجم محمد درويش روعة وقد اعطى هذه الرواية حجمها من خلال المفردات الواضحة.

قبل كل فصل كانت تسرد تقريريا بضمير المتكلم المحاصر الألباني بما لا يتجاوز صفحتين ثم تتحول مع كل فصل لضمير الغائب المهاجم العثماني.

التفاصيل الهادئة الذي ذكرها الكاتب في وصفه هي فعلا من صورة لي احداث الرواية من اعلى بوضوح وهي من مواطن الجمال.

بالنسبة لمواطن القوه فيها الكاتب ذكي بشق الصراع النفسي على جميع الأبطال وجعلهم محاصرين رغم هجومهم للقلعة.

المعلومات الذي رصفها الكاتب في هذا العمل مذهلة وكذلك مكائد الكر والفر.

تستحق
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Hakushi Hamaoka
Dec 24, 2014 Hakushi Hamaoka rated it really liked it
I came to feel like visiting Albania :)

According to the Afterword by the translator, Ismail Kadare's one of the main themes in his novels is the intricate relationships between the obvious other (the influences of the Ottoman Empire) for the Albanians and who the Albanians are. Since Albania was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, people there were affected by its culture, politics, and other social institutions. The Albanian are, however, still Albanians, who are supposed to have rather actively a
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Lisa
I read Kadare’s The Palace of Dreams in 2005, and thought it was an excellent book, but this is even better. At face value, it’s the rivetting story of a C15th siege – the Christian Albanians in the besieged citadel and the Ottomans camped outside. The chapters alternate between these two POV but the Ottomans tell most of the story in what appears to be a straightforward 3rd person narrative. However, there are deliberate anachronisms such as show trials and biological warfare which jolt the rea ...more
LeAnn
May 02, 2009 LeAnn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of literary historical fiction
In The Siege, Ismail Kadare succeeds in telling a story that is at once a fictionalized piece of history, a believable what-if about the Ottoman invasion of 15th-century Albania, and a subtle commentary on modern politics and war.

As with other armies throughout history, the Turks led military campaigns from late spring to early fall. The Siege begins as the Catholic Albanians, having sent the Ottomon envoys packing, prepare for the coming of the invading force. The tale is told in two perspecti
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Tony
Oct 08, 2009 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally published in Albania in 1970, and then translated into French in the mid-90s, this excellent novel has finally made it into English. It tells the story of a fictional 15th-century siege of an Albanian castle by an Ottoman army. The details of this appear to be largely drawn from accounts of the 1474 siege of Shkoder, as well as the exploits of Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg (aka The Dragon of Albania), who led the resistance to the Ottomans for about twenty years, until his death in 1468 ...more
Mohd Antar
Jul 24, 2016 Mohd Antar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ادب-روسي
ملحمه تاريخيه تصف الحصار المروض علي قلعه البانيه بقوات الدوله العثمانيه، وقد ابدع الكاتب في وصف تلك الحرب وهذا الحصار وجعلنا نتعايش مع الجنود وصلابتهم وضعفهم الانساني ،مع القاده وصراعاتهم ،وبحرفيه جيده انتقل من السرد عن معسكر المهاجمين الي السرد عن معسكر المدافعين اللذين يحمون العرض والارض وبالتالي تعايشنا مع كلا الطرفين في معاناتهم واحلامهم وأمالهم...تستحق عن جداره جائزه البوكر
Geoffrey Fox
Jun 21, 2016 Geoffrey Fox rated it really liked it
In the summer of 1429 the greatest army ever seen, under command of Tirsun Pasha, attacks the citadel that is the first line of defense of Christian Albania, expecting to conquer it by rapid assault — but every stratagem (repeated assaults, undermining, infestation with diseased rats, and finally discovering and cutting the city’s aqueduct) fails, and when the rains come (saving the city from surrendering to thirst) the remains of the vast army withdraw in disorder from the now half-ruined town. ...more
Linda
Nov 01, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Siege involves a fictional story of one of the factual Turkish attacks on Albania when it sought to bring all the Balkans beneath its power. Albania was somewhat difficult if only because of the formidable mountains which separate it from the rest of the Balkans. However, the Turkish, with thousands more men than any Balkan country could imagine, eventually prevailed.

Ugurlu Tursun Pasha, the commander-in-chief of the Turkish Army has sent his messengers to the fortress twice. Twice the Chris
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Ajk
May 24, 2014 Ajk rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Maybe it's because I just finished Wu Ming's Altai, but I really didn't have it in me for a straight-siege book. The story is a fictionalized account of one of the many Ottoman sieges of Albania in the 15th century, and the frame story and some of the characters are fascinating. The book is made up of small vignettes from the Albanian perspective within a larger third-person narrative of the Ottomans.

That all said, it was a bit too Albanian nationalistic and writing-will-save-the-world for me. T
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Sayed
Aug 03, 2014 Sayed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
بداية أخي القارئ ومن دون تردد، فإنني أنصحك بقراءة هذه الرواية النفيسة بعنوان الحصار للروائي الألباني إسماعيل كاداريه وهو الحاصل على جائزة بوكر الدولية لعام 2005م.

يروي لنا إسماعيل كاداريه في روايته كيف قام العثمانيون بقيادة طُرسُن باشا بحصار القلعة الألبانية وهي العقبة الكؤود التي كانوا يهدفون من خلال اقتحامها إلى التمدد في أوروبا لتكون مدخلاً لهم هناك فيصلوا إلى روما.

لكننا في هذه الرواية نتعرف على فسطاطين أحدهما غازٍ -العثمانيون- والآخر مُدافع -الألبانيون-، وبينهما البون الشاسع في الاستبسال في ا
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Fence
Mar 07, 2015 Fence rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
Sometime in the fifteenth century, an unnamed Albanian citadel is under siege by the Ottoman army. Among the besiegers is Mevla Celebi, the chronicler or historian. He will record the events for posterity. His job is to compose the story of the Ottoman’s campaign. He is the reader’s main viewpoint, among others, including two or three pages in between in each chapter from the point of view of the Albanians besieged in their castle.

And I have to say, that from the start I was not all that taken w
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Martha
Jul 03, 2014 Martha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kadare's The Seige is another tale of the horrors of war. We are placed ,except for the inter-chapters, in the huge camp of the invading Ottoman force. The main characters are those most closely connected to the Pasha and the Pasha, himself. Kadare shows the political machinations, the savagery and ultimately the war weariness (the one thing that frightens the Pasha the most) that make up the grueling world of such a seige.

In this translation (from a French translation!) the language in the int
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Jocelyn
Oct 14, 2010 Jocelyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, favorites
Il est le héro nationale de l'Albanie, Skanderbeg a tenu tête à la plus grande machine de guerre de son époque: l'empire Ottoman. Il a pu mener ses troupes à resister contre l'envahisseur. Ce livre relate, de façon romancé, la première tentative Islamiste de saisir la citadelle de l'homme de guerre albanais. Une histoire captivante et qui donne le goût d'en savoir plus sur ce pays trop méconnu.
Jeffrey
Oct 27, 2014 Jeffrey rated it really liked it
Kadare's novel takes The Iliad as its template: a fortress held by an inevitably defeated Albanian army successfully holds off the onslaught of Ottoman attack. Like the Iliad, its characters are all in their material seeming--no depth, no inner life, just roles and functions and dreams of women and glory. The rich metaphors of collapsed tunnels and unbreachable walls coincide with the lack of interiority and extend toward the suggestions of complex conspiracies to reroute the passage of power in ...more
Avanto
Apr 05, 2016 Avanto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, war
Compared to The Pyramid by Ismail Kadare this one is much better. I have always been a sucker for Ottoman history and while this is a semi-historical novel at best, it does base itself in a larger than life myth of Skanderberg and the Ottoman - Albania conflict which both were very real. Like in the "pyramid" the behind the lines critique of the soviet system becomes evident, but in the siege the story comes closer to a universal reader. The characters, the horror and the headlessness of people especially in a devine mob ...more
Rune Clausen
Feb 10, 2015 Rune Clausen rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Ismail Kadare (also spelled Kadaré) is an Albanian novelist and poet. He has been a leading literary figure in Albania since the 1960s. He focused on short stories until the publication of his first novel, The General of the Dead Army. In 1996 he became a lifetime member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of France. In 1992, he was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca; in 2005, he wo ...more
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