The Siege
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Siege

by
3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  635 ratings  ·  82 reviews
From Ismail Kadare, winner of the inaugural Man Booker International Prize -a novelist in the class of Coetzee, Pamuk, Marquez, and Rushdie-the stunning new translation of one of his major works.
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...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published May 15th 2008 by Canongate Books (first published 1970)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,333)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Fahad
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...more
Ahmed
انا لم اسمع بالكاتب قبل ذلك . ولم أكن اعرف 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
...more
أشرف فقيه
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
Shane
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...more
Fatema Alammar
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...more
Michael
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.
Cristina Bettencourt
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.
Amanda L
I'm gonna have to re-read this... And I don't feel so happy about it!

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 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Tony
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
Val
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...more
Ajk
May 24, 2014 Ajk rated it 3 of 5 stars
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...more
Martha
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...more
Jocelyn
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.
Isra'a

الرواية جميلة جداً, وتشدك حتى النهاية, لولا قراءتي لمقدمة المترجم (وهذا ما اعتدت ترك قراءته,وأعود إليه حين أقترب من نهاية الكتاب لعدم رغبتي في إنهائه وفراقه), تلك القراءة أفسدت علي الرواية ونهايتها في حين لم يتبق لي سوى 3فصول فقط على نهايتها.


مقدمة المترجم لهذه الرواية ليست الوحيد, فكثير من المترجمين العرب يفسدون الرواية وأحداثها في مقدمتهم, خاصةً حين يبدؤونها بالحديث عن المؤلف وحياته وينهونها بأحداث الرواية ونهايتها.



حذاري أي شخص سيقرأ هذه الرواية, أن يترك قراءة المقدمة لأنها تفسد حماسه مثلي,أنهي...more
Thomas Hübner
http://www.mytwostotinki.com/?p=434

Albania in the middle of the 15th century. Gjergj Kastrioti, called Skanderbeg, is resisting the advance of the Ottoman armies and is fighting a kind of hit-and-run guerrilla war from his fortresses in the Accursed Mountains. This is the historical backdrop of the novel The Siege by the Albanian author Ismail Kadare, a permanent candidate for the Novel Prize and Winner of the Man Booker International Prize.

A huge force of the Ottoman army is advancing to this r...more
Hossam Emad
ممكن نلخص الرواية في الاقتباسين دول:

"في كل ربيع، في أول اخضرار الأرض، سنظهر في هذه البلاد، وستهتز الأرض تحت أقدام جنودنا. ستحرق الوديان، وكل ما ينبت فيها أو ينتصب على أرضها سيتحول إلى رماد. ستنهار الحياة الاقتصادية في هذا البلد، وحينئذ يذكرون اسم (الترك) ليخيفوا أولادهم، ومع ذلك فكما قلت لك سابقًا يا شلبي، إذا لم ننجح في التغلب عليهم هذه المرة في حملتنا الأولى، فسنحتاج في الحملة الثانية إلى ضعف قواتنا لإحراز النصر، وفي الحملة الثالثة سنحتاج إلى ثلاثة أضعاف، وهلم جرا. إذا نجوا أحياء من جحيم هذه ا...more
Sam
In the Seige, Kadare writes a disconcertingly modern and exquisitely detailed account of medieval warfare and nation-building. Most of the book focuses on the Ottoman Turks' command as they encircle a medieval Albanian fortress and, over a long and frustrating summer, fail to breach the walls. There are institial passages between the chapters giving a glimpse of the thoughts of the Albanians within during the seige. The parallels between medieval and modern nations and conflicts lie constantly u...more
Cristian
Kadare scrive, con “I tamburi della pioggia” un romanzo epico. Si tratta, tuttavia, di un’epica molto particolare, e nella quale, spesso fa uso di modalità a mio parere inattese, considerato anche che si tratta di un romanzo di quasi quarant’anni fa.

L’inatteso
Primo elemento inatteso: l’eroe, Scanderbeg, di fatto non compare mai. Si parla di lui per sentito dire, dagli altri. Addirittura, la resistenza di Kruja e l’eroismo di Scanderbeg vengono raccontati prevalentemente dalla punto di vista del...more
Steve Cran
Pasha Tursun is sent off to faraway Albania to subdue a rebellious population and make Albania part of the Ottoman Empire. One Citadel decide to hold out against Ottoman rule. They refuse to submit and they refuse to convert. Their mythical leader Skanderbeg holds them to their Christianity and binds them to the Catholic Church. The Ottoman Army is comprised of many different nationalities and they are all camped by the wall of the Citadel ready to take it over. Pasha Tursun has also fallen out...more
Joshua
In 1969, after the Soviet Union had brutally crushed the liberal government in Czechoslovakia, tiny Albania, allied with Communist China, was very much in fear of a Soviet invasion. Ismail Kadare, a celebrated Albanian novelist and poet, then in his early thirties, had the idea for a work of fiction telling the story of his country when it was once before threatened by an overwhelming force. In the early fifteenth century it was the Ottoman Turks who were determined to trample Albania under its...more
Wolf
Not a Historical Novel, Not Quite as Great as Some Reviewers Say...


On the surface this appears to be the story of the siege of a medieval Albanian fortress by the Ottoman Turks. In fact it is firmly about the contemporary concerns of the author.

As others have said, Kadare uses the fifteenth century siege as a way of exploring issues occupying the Albanian of the 1970s. Although parts of the story do effectively capture something of the lost world of the Albanian resistance leader Skanderbeg and...more
Madhuri
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Timothy Good
There were moments during The Siege that I felt more like I was reading some well-wrought poem than reading a novel. I did not care deeply about any of the characters in Kadare's The Siege. But then, the novel does not require that we do so. While we become familiar with a pretty narrow cast of actors and their characterization is an important component of what holds the work together, it is not the engine. What is? The Siege seems more of an intricate balancing act in structure, setting, charac...more
Caitriona H
This is sort of a test of whether one should judge a book by its cover - I don’t know why I enjoy midnight blue skies scattered with stars so much, perhaps it’s a universal human instinct. However, the Ottoman subject matter of the book is one I have touched on before (see Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières review).

This is another work in translation and, as it’s not so well known, the forward to the book is actually a really interesting complement to the work. I know very, very little ab...more
Roger
This is an entertaining, layered novel by an internationally honored Albanian writer (he won the International Booker Prize in 2005,) who does not seem very well known in the US. Too bad. The story is on the surface about a siege of a 15th century Christian castle by the expanding Islamic Ottoman Empire. Mostly we come to know the besiegers, their women, their hopes, and fears and comedies. It's intriguing and unputdownable, and there's nothing of the fusty historical novel about it. It was writ...more
ina
This is about the Ottoman siege of a fictitious Albanian Christian city. It was written from the point of view primarily of the Ottomans, but by an albanian author. He wrote in a historical context where Albania was under pressure from the Soviet block, but under the throes of a repressive Albanian regime. Understood in this way, this book is a political discussion of a contemporary political situation, in a reality when nothing can be expressed directly and subtle analogy has to be applied.
The...more
Bookaholic
Cînd am început Mesagerii ploii, mă aşteptam să descopăr o nouă distopie, în genul celor cu care Ismail Kadare ne-a obişnuit în Palatul viselor sau în Fiica lui Agamemnon şi Succesorul, dar, de data aceasta, scriitorul albanez a dezvoltat o naraţiune realistă, istorică, realizând o adevărată psihologie a vieţii de război. Tematica s-a schimbat aşadar, însă stilul său poetic inconfundabil a rămas. Amintind, pe alocuri, de nebunia războiului din Deşertul tătarilor de Dino Buzzati, romanul lui Kada...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 44 45 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Varamo
  • Children in Reindeer Woods
  • My Two Worlds
  • Burning the Days: Recollection
  • A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear
  • Agent Garbo: The Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler and Saved D-Day
  • The Cyclist Conspiracy
  • The Secret History of Costaguana
  • A Thousand Morons
  • ابن سينا أو الطريق إلى أصفهان
  • The Canvas
  • مطر حزيران
  • Tuareg
  • Carpenter's Pencil
  • Scars
  • تأملات في تاريخ الرومان
  • Forty-one False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers
  • L'Accident
10838
Ismail Kadare was born in 1936 in Gjirokastër, in the south of Albania. His education included studies at the University of Tirana and then the Gorky Institute for World Literature in Moscow, a training school for writers and critics.

In 1960 Kadare returned to Albania after the country broke ties with the Soviet Union, and he became a journalist and published his first poems.

His first novel, The G...more
More about Ismail Kadare...
Broken April The Palace of Dreams Chronicle in Stone The General of the Dead Army The Three-Arched Bridge

Share This Book

“I lodhur nga medyshjet e linte nganjehere veten te binte ne enderrime pa kuptim. Mendonte se sa mire do te ishte sikur pas shtatorit, te vinte jo tetori me nentorin, por korriku me gushtin. Enderronte nje ere te marre qe te mund te ngaterronte muajt e stinet e vitit, ashtu si era e vjeshtes gjethet e thara.” 11 likes
More quotes…