Adam's Reviews > The Fall of the Stone City

The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare
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it was amazing
bookshelves: albania, balkan, historical-fiction

This brief novel by the Albanian author Ismail Kadare encompasses much about the history of the land of his birth and the rest of the world that used to be ruled by communist regimes. As with many of his other novels, the author writes succinctly and clearly, expressing feelings and ideas with skilful economy of language. In 170 pages he has expressed what many other authors would only manage in a book with at least twice as many pages.

The story follows the fate of 'Big' Dr Gurameto, a senior doctor in the ancient Albanian town of Gjirokaster (the town where Kadare as well as the communist leader Enver Hoxha were born). It begins with the arrival of German invaders in 1943. They are 'welcomed' at the city's gates by hostile shooting. As a result of this, the Germans take hostages, whom they will probably kill. Gurameto invites the commander of the invading German force to a dinner, at which he persuades the German commander to release the hostages.

This dinner will prove to have unfortunate consequences for Gurameto when the Communists take over the running of Albania. Gurameto is arrested and interrogated thoroughly not only by Albanian investigators but also by those flown in specially from East Germany and the USSR. The reason for this is that one of the hostages who was released on that night in 1943 was a Jewish pharmacist who worked in the town. And, the interrogation was taking place during the last few months of Comrade Stalin's life. This was the exact time when Stalin and his henchmen were concocting the "Jewish Doctors' Plot", which would have led to a massive campaign of Anti-Semitism throughout the Soviet-dominated countries of the world had Stalin lived longer.

Once again, Kadare successfully exposes the reader to the mysteriously sinister mindset of those who worked for the Albanian Communist regime which was led ruthlessly by its dictator Enver Hoxha. This novel gripped me from the first page until the last. It never flagged whilst it unravelled the mysterious history of the author's mysterious country during an era that is poorly known by the world beyond its borders.

The book can be read as a thriller as well as an ingenious portrayal of the history of a fascinating period in the history of Albania as well as the world beyond it.
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Reading Progress

July 26, 2013 – Started Reading
July 26, 2013 – Shelved
July 26, 2013 – Shelved as: albania
July 26, 2013 – Shelved as: balkan
July 26, 2013 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
July 26, 2013 –
page 99
July 28, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Malla (new)

Malla Thanks for review and thanks for recommending - sounds fascinating.

Alb.krist Best Review...

That is the meaning of the two Gurametos, i think: "This dinner will prove to have unfortunate consequences for Gurameto when the Communists take over the running of Albania.".

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