Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Concert by Ismail Kadare

Former archaeologist Silva Dibra's brother, a tank corps officer, has been dismissed from the Albanian army, arrested, and taken away. In the effort to learn her brother's fate, Silva and a band of friends and family mount an investigation that leads from Tirana, Albania's capital, to the Chinese-controlled steel mills of the north, and ultimately to Beijing. China is somehow involved with the increasingly desperate situation in Albania, but no one knows the extent of its secret alliances, political levers, and economic control. Skender Bermema, a famous writer and friend of Silva's, is sent to China on a fact-finding mission, and is confronted with nothing less, and nothing more, than the reality of Mao Tse-tung's China, a nation intent on crushing individuality, independence, and creativity.

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