by Ismail Kadare
From the winner of the first-ever Man Booker International Prize: a novel about creative origin and aspiration, inspired by Ismail Kadare’s childhood in Albaniax and about a mother as naïve and fragile as a paper doll.
At the centre of young Ismail’s world is the unknowable figure of his mother. Delicate as a paper doll, she is an unlikely presence in her husband’s great stone house, with its hidden rooms and infamous dungeon, and is constantly at odds with her wise and thin-lipped mother-in-law. But despite her lightness and unchanging youthful nature, she is not without her own enigmas.
Most of all, she fears that her intellectual son – who uses words she doesn’t understand, publishes radical poetry, falls in love freely and seems to be renouncing everything she embodies of the old world – will have to exchange her for a superior mother when he becomes a famous writer.
Dedicated to the memory of his mother and circling back to his childhood in Albania, The Doll is Ismail Kadare’s delicate and disarming tale of home and creative longing, of writerly aspiration, and of personal and political freedom.
Page Count: 176 Pages
Published: March 2021