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The Concert

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  246 ratings  ·  24 reviews
In Enver Hoxha's Albania, news was closely guarded and speculation forever rife. When an engineer stepped on the foot of a visiting Chinese man, a Diplomatic incident resulted, and couriers between Tirana and Beijing carried back and forth annotated X-rays of The Foot. Was the sudden tension between the two allies connected with the punishment meted out to a group of ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published December 22nd 2005 by Harvill Secker (first published 1988)
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Jim Fonseca
The author, Kadare, is the classic writer of Albanian times under communism. This historical novel focuses on the period, roughly 1972-1978, when Albania had allied itself with Red China rather than Russia. But the Albanian leader, Enver Hoxha (he needs a nickname so I’ll give him one: Crazy Man) is splitting with Mao over Mao’s invitation to Nixon to visit China.

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Mao is losing it too – he’s 80 and “living in a cave” (actually an underground house). His much younger ex-movie-star wife is running
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Koncert ne fund te dimrit: roman = Le concert = The Concert, Ismail Kadare
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و یکم ماه آوریل سال 2012 میلادی
عنوان: کنسرت در پایان زمستان؛ نویسنده: اسماعیل کاداره؛ مترجم: مهین میلانی؛ تهران، نشر مرکز، 1375؛ در 575 ص؛ شابک: 9643051137؛
اسماعیل کاداره (زاده 28 ژانویه سال 1936 میلادی) نویسنده، شاعر و روزنامه نگار آلبانی است. در دهه 1990 میلادی آلبانی را ترک و به فرانسه پناهنده شد. انتشار کتابهایش مدتها در آلبانی ممنوع بود، ولی در فرانسه با استقبال روبرو شد. کاداره در سال 1996
...more
Aggeliki
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Κεντρικό θέμα οι σχέσεις Κίνας-Αλβανίας κατά την δεκαετία του 70. Ο Kadare γράφει υπό καθεστώς κομμουνισμού και αυτό φωνάζει στο κείμενό του. Η ιστορία του πλαισιώνεται από πολλούς χαρακτήρες ακόμη, ίσως μάλιστα πάρα πολλούς για να μπορέσεις να συγκρατήσεις τον ρόλο του καθενός αλλά και την σύνδεσή του με όλους τους υπόλοιπους αλλά και την ίδια την ιστορία. Κυβερνητικοί υπάλληλοι, οικογενειακά δράματα, πολιτικές και όχι μόνο αναταραχές μπλέκονται περίεργα σε μια ιστορία που δεν κατάφερε ωστόσο ...more
Adam
Sep 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: albania, balkan
In 1978, China broke off its trade and other relations with Enver Hoxha's Albania. The 2 countries had been begun to be closely allied in the early 1960s, as was first reported in the West by the West German journalist Harry Hamm in his book Albania first published in English in 1962.

The Concert by Ismail Kadaré is a long novel set both in his native land Albania and also in the People's Republic of China during the final months of the friendship between the 2 distantly separated nations. Not
...more
Stephen Hayes
I've read a couple of Ismail Kadare's books before -- see Chronicle in stone — book review | Khanya -- but the others were set in the time before Albania was ruled by Enver Hoxha, who famously made it, for 27 years, the world's only truly atheist county.

Albania was almost unique among communist countries in becoming increasingly isolated from the world, including other communist countries. It broke first from the USSR, but for a while maintained friendship with China, but eventually even that
...more
Nihal Vrana
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-literature
It is an unique and overall a disturbing book. The chapters from Mao's voice (Particularly the very first one) are pure stroke of genius and fills you with a kind of dread that is very hard to shrug off. The subtle sarcasm hidden in the book is delightful too.

There is this feeling of insignificance that pervades the book which I found particularly special. Superficially it can be defined as Kafkaesque but it is more than that. The self-created hells of Simon, Ekrem and Minister D for example
...more
Kathleen
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, history, owned, arc
See more reviews at Book Lust

Kadaré is an Albanian writer who splits his time between Tirana, Albania and Paris. The Concert was first published in 1989 in French and this new English edition was released by Arcade Publishing on October 8th.

The book involves the relations between China and Albania during the 1970s, near the end of Mao Zedong's life. It follows several protagonists with intertwined lives and who all have some investment in the politics between the two countries. The author grew
...more
Sean Hoskin
Nov 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Replete with the intricacies of the lives of ordinary Albanians and contrasting them with the dynamics of the political relations with China at a time when a breaking off of alliance is imminent, The Concert weaves the intimate aspects of personal relationships with those on a grander scale, signifying and invoking a metaphoric refrain in which the personal and the political necessarily incline upon each other for understanding and meaning. The wayward ineptness of political officials-both in ...more
Vikas Datta
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magnificent... the triumph of a storyteller's craft as Mr Kadare evokes - in almost surrealistic terms - the inanities and absurdities of life and politics in communist states. Tells you more about Albania and China and their relations that any factual history can... Some characters are a delight - Krams for one, and the minister of course
ZaRi
کارهای بزرگ هیچ گاه از نزدیک خوب دیده نمی شوند. باید سال ها به عقب برگشت، و حتی قرن ها تا وسعت و عمق مسئله را دریافت...!
... هچ چیز ناخوشایندتر از این نیست که انسان با آشنایی در خیابان برخورد کند که از روبه رو نمی آید ، بلکه از پشت سرتان می آید و همان مسیر شما را طی می کند...!

Zebardast Zebardast
baratoon pish oomade ke nevisandeyi bashe ke ziad az khodesh khoshetoon naiad ,vali injoor pish biad ke kolli az ketabasho bekhoonin.dastane mano kadare ham inoor shode.che mishe kard;)
David Bird
Hard to know how to contextualize this rather alien book, but I am glad to have read it.
Javier de la Peña Ontanaya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicky Harman
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was fascinated by this novel. (I'm a sinologist so I was especially interested in the way that the Albanian characters see the Chinese. It's set during the [Chinese] Cultural Revolution, so that made it especially weird.) I loved the Albanian protagonists and thought the women were drawn particularly well. I sympathised with the Chinese characters, but I can't say I found them very human. Though they were plausible. Sadly, life in China back then really was like that. So I read through the ...more
Jose Carlos
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Novela de largo aliento, de largo recorrido, un recorrido de 522 páginas fascinantes, El concierto tal vez sea la obra maestra de Kadaré, por lo que nos cuenta (la ruptura de relaciones entre China y Albania en 1978, catorce años después del traumático cisma con la URSS), por cómo nos lo cuenta (con una estructura circular, plena de personajes, en clave coral, con varias novelas cortas intercaladas) y por quienes nos lo cuentan (los propios personajes históricos como Mao, Hoxha, Lin Biao, y los ...more
Ernie
Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this wonderful satire on Communism in Albania during the Chinese Cultural Revolution after Albania, spurned by the Soviet Union, had turned to support China. Mao and Zhou Enlai appear in cameo roles. For example from Mao: 'He'd come to believe that a head of state's most useful actions were those which remained incomprehensible not only to others but also to himself'.
When the central character Gjorgj is sent on a secret mission to China, he bears a locked briefcase with a letter from
...more
Geoff Wooldridge
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in the 1980s but set in the 1970s, Ismail Kadare's The Concert is a black comedy about the breakdown in Sino-Albanian relationships, especially following the death of Mao Zedong.

The concert, which provides the title of the novel, plays only a very small part of this book about political machinations in both China and Albania. But it does signify the critical point at which Mao's death first becomes known.

The parts of the book set in Albania deal mostly with the lives of ordinary people,
...more
Brooke
Nov 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't bring myself to finish this book. I was enjoying it but at the same time I couldn't make the connection to the characters. I wish I had been able to make it through the entire book but life is to short to stick with anything you can't go completely with.
naureen
albania. a country i know nothing about. i thought it was a muslim country but people go to bars a lot in this book. the point of view shifts are nice so far. including one making mao zedong the narrator.
Hrao14
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't understand the metaphors in the book. Basically, didn't understand the book and didn't like any of the characters. Don't know why this won the international Booker prize!
James
Nov 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two plots, Albanian party appartchiks during Hoekshe regime and Mao in his cave. Difficult, but interesting setting. Jess marriage?
Kyle
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed it. Sometimes felt it jumped around a bit too abruptly, but also enjoyed the variety of stories and characters.
David
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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 ...more
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“E ke menduar se po te largohesh kaq shume nga jeta njerezore, nga ajo qe ti me perbuzje e quan "malli i jetes", mund te percudnohesh kaq shume, saqe, po te duash te kthehesh prape, ajo s'ka per te te pranuar me, ashtu sic eshte e papranueshme nje fantazme? Gjepura kishte thene Kramsi, fjaleri mikroborgjeze, kurse tjetri kishte vazhduar: nje hije, ja c'je ti Krams.” 10 likes
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