The Accident

Ismail Kadare, Author, John Hodgson, Translator
Ismail Kadare, trans. from the Albanian by John Hodgson, Grove, $24 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2995-6
Reviewed on: 07/05/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
Paperback - 265 pages - 978-0-8021-4551-2
Paperback - 263 pages - 978-0-385-67087-6
Open Ebook - 267 pages - 978-1-921799-76-1
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-385-67086-9
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-84767-915-4
Hardcover - 263 pages - 978-0-385-67085-2
Paperback - 263 pages - 978-1-84767-340-4
Hardcover - 239 pages - 978-1-4712-0087-8
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Man Booker International–winner Kadare (The Siege) builds a strange world out of a "most ordinary" traffic accident. Diplomat Besfort Y. and his longtime girlfriend, Rovena, are killed in a Vienna taxi accident after distracting the driver by "trying to kiss." As it turns out, Besfort may have had a checkered political past, and as various Balkan intelligence agencies review the accident, speculations emerge: was Rovena really a long-suffering girlfriend, or was she a call girl? Was Besfort murdered for political purposes? Was he involved in the collapse of Yugoslavia? But without hard facts, the case grows cold until an unnamed researcher at the European Road Safety Institute decides to write a speculative account of the last 40 weeks of Besfort and Rovena's lives. Kadare's excursions into an eccentric style—meticulous procedural scenes bloom into the surreal, languid eroticism mingles with the banal, dreams are scrutinized as readily as actual events—provide moments both curious and brilliant as the researcher teases out an almost entirely speculative narrative rife with complexities and possibilities. Should be manna for the Gauloise and bitter espresso crowd. (Nov.)
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