Due to the oppression of Communism in Albania, this book actually had to be smuggled out of that country by the author and a friend of his in France,Due to the oppression of Communism in Albania, this book actually had to be smuggled out of that country by the author and a friend of his in France, where it was first published. The novella, "Agamemnon's Daughter," tells the tale of an unnamed young man, who has the misfortune to fall for the daughter of a government official whose star is on the rise. As he walks through the streets on his way to a jingoistic parade (where he has an invitation to sit in the coveted stands, a consolation prize, in exchange for his woman being taken away from him), he recalls the story of the sacrifice of Agamemnon's daughter, Iphigenia, whose blood was supposed to calm the raging seas.
The second story, "The Blinding Order," is a scary tale set in the Ottoman Empire, wherein threats of the "evil eye" lead to barbaric torture, all in the name of keeping the peace. I think if this had been a longer tale, I might have been more emotionally invested. Even though there was some focus on a young woman whose fiancé is one of the officials leading the punishment (and is then summarily implicated), I think the story is too short to really have a personal impact.
The third story, "The Great Wall," actually didn't do much for me at all. Told by two different characters, a Chinese official inside the wall and a rebel outside it, I suppose there's a deeper metaphor about walls and such other than the obvious, but honestly, it was a little bit boring.
All that being said, I think that Mr. Kadare is a good writer, and I would select a novel next time. ...more
Now that I have Amazon prime, I can pick a Kindle First selection every month. I scanned the reviews very briefly and thought this book sounded intereNow that I have Amazon prime, I can pick a Kindle First selection every month. I scanned the reviews very briefly and thought this book sounded interesting, a bit of historical fiction.
The premise is good, but the title is misleading. The "ghost" of the story appears very briefly. The plot is rather repetitive and many passages would have benefited from editing. Trigger warnings for sexual abuse. One scene in particular seemed gratuitous and added nothing to the story. The epilogue was strange and written in a different tone.
In general, this was disappointing and I'm glad that it didn't really cost me anything....more
This is another book that I first encountered in high school. I read it, we discussed it, I said, "Okay, whatever," and moved on. I probably would notThis is another book that I first encountered in high school. I read it, we discussed it, I said, "Okay, whatever," and moved on. I probably would not have picked it up again if it wasn't my book club's selection for January.
(Please note : the Project Gutenberg edition is riddled with errors - I intend to let them know. It rather surprised me since they're usually so meticulous about that sort of thing. Moving on...)
It's a good book and important, but - I suppose to my cynical mind, I see this as the sort of book that today's hipster d-bags would tote around, exclaiming how "deep" it all is when they haven't actually read it....more