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The Accident

3.12  ·  Rating Details ·  642 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
The new book from the winner of the inaugural International Man Booker Prize is a modern-day love story of powerful obsession set against the background of dark political intrigue.
On the autobahn in Vienna a taxi leaves the carriageway and strikes the crash barrier, flinging its male and female passengers out of its back doors as it spins through the air. The driver canno
Published May 1st 2011 by Canongate Books (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30)
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I expected, perhaps unreasonably, to understand the Balkans a little better after reading this book by Albanian author, Ismail Kadaré, but instead I was desperately in need of a tutorial not only on Balkan history and politics but also on understanding Kadaré's very opaque writng. Though my copy was in English, and seemed well translated, it was still very difficult to follow his oblique approach to the events he was writing about. There seemed to be layers and layers of meaning beneath the main ...more
Oct 26, 2012 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: balkan
I found this book confusing and, at times, difficult to follow. But, maybe the author intended this.

The story is set long after the end of Communist rule in Albania.

It concerns the extremely thorough investigation of an automobile accident that occurred 17 Km outside of Vienna. The car, a taxi containing two passengers and its driver, is thrown off the road. No other vehicles are involved. The driver survives. So far, this much is a certainty in this novel by Albania's leading novelist Ismail Ka
Nick Wellings
Jul 07, 2013 Nick Wellings rated it really liked it
Straightforward prose to describe (amongst other things) obsession, obsession for other, for posession of other, obsession for a puzzle to be solved, knowledge, secrets etc. Subtle symbolic approaches, and as one blurb review says, elements of fabulism, and pushes at the boundaries a little (and thus to great effect) of the compact between author and reader.

Kundera-like in its man v. woman analyses of relationships. Contained the best two sentences I have read all year so far, exquisite metaphor
I really enjoy Kadare's books even though they mystify me. I like the challenge of reading something that's not straightforward, especially since the stories are set in a part of the world I don't know much about.

To see my review please visit but be aware that there are lots of spoilers, it's not possible to unpack this book without them.
Artan Ramadani
Mar 05, 2016 Artan Ramadani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Liber qe tban konfuz shume, po tmban t'lidhur me ta dej n'fund..
Pyetja se qka ndodhi ne t'vertete, a ishte thjeshte aksident apo tentim vrasje, nuk i ndahet lexuesit asnjehere.
E me ane t'rreshtave magjike t'Kadarese, dalngadale shpaloset historia e dashurise e dy protagonisteve, qe nuk dalin t'jene bash bardhe e zi, mirepo perkudrazi, kane shume e shume gjera misterioze rreth tyre..
E krejt ky rrefim, me kapercime n'kohe, qe e bajne librin me u dok sikur film i Christopher Nolanit..
Pierre Menard
Aug 11, 2016 Pierre Menard rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the skeptics like Socrates
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 20, 2012 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: albania-research
Ismail Kadare's The Accident is a brief novel that explores, sometimes obliquely, the ways stories are told, how relationships develop and shift over time, and the life of Albanians following the collapse of Communism. The story centers on the accident of the title, which is detailed in the first of the novel's three sections. A man and a woman leave a hotel and get into a taxi for the airport. Something happens – something distracts the driver – and he goes off the road. The man and woman are s ...more
I'm not even sure what I just read. Well-written, but the characters were so damaged. Sometimes I wasn't sure if the situations portrayed were real to them or imagined. Interesting read though.
Jan 09, 2011 Juanita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Somehow he reminds me a little of Murakami set in Albania in the 1980's.
Like Herta Muller's images of Eastern Europe...the cement grey iron curtain.
Bora 1234
Sep 06, 2012 Bora 1234 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was different from the others but yet incredibly intriguing and beautiful.
To Kadare's credit, I was transported to another place while reading this novel. His prose is very descriptive, but almost in an avant-garde way. Impressive if excessive use of metaphors, infusion of important themes, especially the man versus woman/power of the sexes. Secrecy, subtlety, razzle-dazzle blurring between fact & fiction.

However, I might have been preoccupied with trying to determine exactly what was really occurring at any given moment more than I would have liked. The timeline
Feb 20, 2016 Kadircan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, balkan
Epey kasvetli bir ortamda akan bu romanı okumak çok kolay olmadı benim için. Okumayı zor kılan etkenlerden biri olayların geçtiği atmosfer ise, diğeri de olaylar arasındaki bağlantıların ve geçişlerin oldukça narin yapılmış olmasıydı. Dikkatinizi bir an kaybettiğinizde öykünün nereye geldiğini anlayamamanız gayet olası, ki ben böylesi bir durumla karşılaştığım için yaklaşık 100 sayfayı tekrar okumak zorunda kalmıştım.

Ancak kitabın okurdan talep ettiği ilgiye fazlasıyla layık olduğunu düşünüyoru
Ben Thurley
An ambiguous and elliptical novel made up of complex and contradictory narrative threads. Ostensibly the account of an investigation into the sudden and mysterious deaths of two Albanian lovers, Rovena St. and Bresfort Y, pieced together by an anonymous state investigator, it is an exploration of obsession, sex, love, power and control.

In the context of a fragmenting, war-torn Balkans it is — even through its consistent focus on just two people and their love affair — also a deeply political no
May 24, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rovena and Besfort are killed in a strange car accident and a lone researcher attempts to understand their true relationship, recreate the events leading up to their deaths and discover what really happened in the accident.

The story is complex, often confusing and vague as it pulls off the layers of Rovena and Besfort's relationship, one that is dysfunctional and toxic at best. I was annoyed by this in the beginning, but the more I read the more I realized that this was probably the intent of th
Jan 22, 2011 Irena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, balkans
This book held my breath because of, and not despite of, its more traditional subject matter. Even if you read it merely as a 'love story', glossing over the allegory, it still is as enthralling an excavation as any other Kadare novel. Some nuances, which to me anyway comprise the book - the corruption of NGOs, Tirana's dreary February, the muted Balkans sexual warfare- are difficult to convey in a translation though.
Aug 11, 2015 Gustavo rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a mess! One thing is a bad book by a lesser author - another, is a terrible book by a talented writer. You can sense the confusion in Kadares mind as you read the story. It reminded me of some lesser books by Doris Lessing, when you see the author knows he is lost in the plot but he tries to go on by any means. This book is almost one of those "so bad its good". If it were a little worse it could even have a cult following - but its just bad. ...more
Nov 14, 2011 Donald rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, this started out so promising - a strange traffic accident occurs that kills two people in a taxi when the driver sees that in the rear view mirror, they "try to kiss". Whaaa??? Then the story backtracks over the years of the two victims long love affair. And at the end? Well, I don't think I understood the end at all. Was it all real, imaginary, or supernatural? I just don't know.
Oct 30, 2015 mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a tale of an accident, or perhaps a murder, or perhaps of the inevitability of soul-murder in a patriarchalized society. It is almost an excellent book and probably would have been excellent if the author wasn't so famous and would have permitted his editor to take out some of the repetitive middle; it starts strong and ends even stronger.
Oct 09, 2016 Teresa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-albania, e2
"existem duas coisas no Universo que viam a sua existência posta em causa: o amor e Deus. A terceira, a morte, como sabemos, o homem podia comprová-la nos outros mas nunca em si mesmo."
(Pagina 94)
Claudiu D.
Oct 18, 2016 Claudiu D. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literatura
Un Kadare foarte diferit fata de cel din Fiica lui Agammemnon / Succesorul sau Palatul viselor ceea ce ma face sa cred ca romanul a fost mai mult un experiment al autorului. Proza de cea mai buna calitate.
Hugh Coverly
Oct 04, 2016 Hugh Coverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A murder mystery with twists: Is there a victim? Is there a perpetrator? Has there even been a crime? An unconventional love story: Are these two people lovers? Is this a man and his call girl?

One thing is certain, The Accident is an interesting book from start to finish. An unnamed researcher sets out to resolve the mystery of an accident that claims the lives of a man and a woman but leaves the taxi driver alive. Who were the victims, why did the driver crash the car, what is the mystery at t
Nov 17, 2012 Ernie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kadare is an Albanian but writes in French and this novel of 263 pages always brings the changes in contemporary Albania to bear on my reading. It is one of the most intriguing novels I have ever read, combining crime, mystery and political memoir genres. What caused the Austrian taxi driver on the motorway to the airport in Vienna to swerve off the road into a gulley causing his two Albanian passengers to be cast out of the rear door 'trying to kiss' as they fell to their death? Was it the atte ...more
Mihai Savu
Mar 05, 2014 Mihai Savu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book has a boring beginning, a car accident near Vienna where a couple died while the taxi driver remained alive. The local police and then the Serbian and Albanian police investigated the case that proved to be nothing more than that.

After a while, the case is reopened by a private researcher who gathers all evidences (tickets, hotel reservations, private notes, diaries, phone calls) and starts recreating the last 40 weeks of life of the dead couple.

First half of the book goes like this and
Jan 05, 2014 Claire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel has a good setting which I have been studying - the Balkan peninsula and the surrounding countries like France and Denmark. I don't think I've read enough mystery to judge whether it were a particularly good one (it must be though since the author won an international prize!) - pretty much only having read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys as a smaller person.

Slight anti-Americanism penetrates the narrative, supporting my proposal Cold War sentiment isn't a thing of the past, even now in
Dana Jennings
I wanted to love this book. It is, after all, the winner of the Man Booker International Prize. Kadare, an Albanian, has written many books and clearly is a master of the craft. This is a novel to be discussed with others. It is so dark and dreamlike I am not certain what happened. Though I don't offer plot lines in my reviews, I want to share a partial review from Tom Nolan of The Wall Street Journal. He explains it much more clearly than I ever could.

"Absorbing . . .In his layering of truth-qu
Marion Hall
This is a very strange book. Part one is written in an easy-to-read style with a certain black comedy (e. g. The European classification of road accidents). I hoped the book would have continued in this style.
However, part two is very confusing - it is the work of an 'investigator' who decides to look further into the lives of two passengers killed in The Accident of the title. This (largest) section looks at their relationship over a 12 year period, focussing on the last 40 weeks.
This couple
May 13, 2013 Aisling rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A taxi crashes on a street in Vienna and when the only survivor, the driver, regains consciousness all he can tell police is that the man and woman, Albanian citizens, in the back seat were "trying to kiss" when he glanced in the rear view mirror just prior to the accident. Thus begins a story as convoluted and ultimately as unresolved as any I've read. The book moves in time, place and perspective in a kafkaesque manner. We are not sure who anyone is, nor are we certain where reality ends and s ...more
Jul 15, 2012 Booker rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aroundtheglobe
Besfort's and Rovena's complicated relationship comes to an abrupt end in a highway accident. Set against the backdrop of the Balkans and Albania as they transition from communism to democracy and from tyranny to freedom, Rovena's own sexuality also finds new outlets/freedom from her lover, Besfort. As Besfort struggles with the changing political and military climates, Rovena is conflicted between liberation in her relationships and sexually. Phenomenology is at the heart of the book as a resea ...more
Feb 07, 2014 g rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've read by Ismail Kadare, and I found his prose elegant. But I think there is a problem with the way this book is framed. In Part 1, we are exposed to a story about an accident, which is supposedly mysterious and interesting, but by the time I finished this section, I wasn't particularly convinced that there was anything worth contemplating regarding this rather banal event. In order to let me recover from this conviction, Part 2 had to be really compelling and forceful, ...more
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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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“Ne raste te tilla, ajo behej mjaft e bukur. Syte, qe gjer atehere kishin ndjekur tymin e cigares, i dritesoheshin mallengjyeshem. Mollezat, gjithashtu. I binte ne ato caste nje hir qe te trembte,te rrezonte.
Te rrezonte? C'do te thoshte kjo?
Nuk di ta shpjegoj. Desha te them, nje bukuri qe te kepuste ne mes, sic i thone fjales. Ai, gjithashtu dukej sikur permendej. Porosiste nje whiskey tjeter. Pastaj vazhdonin te flisnin prape ne gjuhen e tyre, gjer pas mesnates, atehere kur ngriheshin per t'u ngjitur me lart, ne kat.”
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