- ハードカバー: 176ページ
- 出版社: Canongate Books (2012/5/1)
- 言語: 英語
- ISBN-10: 0857860119
- ISBN-13: 978-0857860118
- 発売日： 2012/5/1
- 商品パッケージの寸法: 14.3 x 1.8 x 22 cm
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Fall of the Stone City (英語) ハードカバー – 2012/5/1
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In September 1943, German soldiers advance on the ancient gates of Gjirokaster, Albania. It is the first step in a carefully planned invasion. But once at the mouth of the city, the troops are taken aback by a surprising act of rebellion that leaves the citizens fearful of a bloody counter-attack. Soon rumours circulate, in cafes, houses and alleyways, that the Nazi Colonel in command of the German Army was once a school acquaintance of a local dignitary, Doctor Gurameto. In the town square, Colonel von Schwabe greets his former classmate warmly; in return, Doctor Gurameto invites him to dinner. The very next day, the Colonel and his army disappear from the city. The dinner at Gurameto's house changes the course of events in twentieth-century Europe. But as the citizens celebrate their hero, a conspiracy surfaces which leads some to place Gurameto - and the stone city - at the heart of a plot to undermine Socialism. Enigmatic and compelling, The Fall of the Stone City displays Ismail Kadare at the height of his considerable powers.
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Enver Hoxha, the ultimate victor in the WW II years in Albania, wrote the history of those times and you had to swallow it on pain of your life. But what really went on in that time of destruction and chaos ? Nobody inside really knows what goes on in totalitarian societies or in the time of a war involving Italians, Germans, Communists, royalists, nationalists, and even the Western allies. Everything is either confused or secret, so truth (or even a semblance of truth) disappears. Magical realist explanations of the times are as good as any---maybe they are explanations for things that have no explanation. Garcia-Marquez wrote a magnificent portrayal of dictatorship and tyranny in "The Autumn of the Patriarch"; Kadare has written a different, but equally strong book here. The Germans are about to occupy Gjirokaster (the stone city) and Albania. Two doctors in town have different takes on the event. One is closer to Germany, the other to Italy. The former gives a dinner---or does he? His old school friend from Germany turns out to be the invading commander---or does he ? Maybe he's even dead. Later, in 1953, when the Communists are in power, and Stalin is in his last days, a high powered investigation of events ten years before takes place due to the infamous "Doctors' Plot" in the USSR.. Why did the doctors act as they did ? Can we get to the bottom of this ? Can you get to the bottom of anything in history ? Does it all have to do with ghosts of the past that in Albania, as in Faulkner's Mississippi, never disappear ? Murky, full of lies, contradictions and irony, fables and propaganda, even the psychology of torturers and the tortured, this is another tour de force by one of the world's greatest living writers. Read it.
This novel begins in 1943, with the retreat of the Italians, who have ruled Albania since 1939, and the arrival of the Germans. As the Germans enter the city, however, someone fires on the advance team. No one is hurt, but the Germans plan reprisals: a hundred citizens are taken hostage, and the city will be blown up. Soon, however, the townspeople hear music from the home of Big Dr. Gurameto. Colonel Fritz von Schwabe, commander of the German division, is having dinner with his "great friend, from university," Big Dr. Gurameto. Shortly afterward, the city learns that the citizens held as hostages, including Jakoel the Jew, are being released, and the city will not be bombed. No one knows how this came about.
In Part II, from 1944, the German Army retreats, and the communists arrive to take their place. People, including hospital patients still under anesthesia and "stuck somewhere out of time" are arrested. Nine years later, when word arrives that Stalin is going to visit the city: Time "was not just suspended; it was going backwards at great speed." For mysterious reasons, the communists have started investigating the dinner between Big Dr. Gurameto and Col. von Schwabe from nine years before.
The novel is rife with symbols regarding the fate of the country - anesthetized patients, Big Dr. Gurameto's dreams of being operated on by himself, and Col. von Schwabe's memory of the doctor operating on him. Scars also appear in the imagery. Old stories, like folk tales, repeat, and ghosts and the dead participate in "real" life. Trying to figure out what is to be taken at face value, what may be symbolic or mythical, and what events are "real" in one place but mythical in another becomes a real challenge, and the many chronological shifts leave the author's narrative direction and purpose open to question.
Additionally, the tone of the novel is inconsistent, with Part I resembling a morality tale and Part II, a year later, beginning as a history lecture. This then shifts to an almost farcical style about the communists, before it evolves into the gruesome interrogations and tortures which dominate Part III. The author, too, may have recognized a problem of coherence since he himself enters the narrative in the concluding pages, stating "Here is what happened," then explaining some events going back to 1953. His explanation contains some surprises, but it still contains Kadare's trademark combination of fact and fiction, reality and dream, truth and myth, leaving questions about what "really" happened here. Perhaps that was the author's point.
At every stage all sorts of rumours about the situation and about the fate of the city circulate in it; and indeed under each regime life is so unpredictable that anything could happen. In Parts One and Two there are arbitrary arrests and then equally arbitrary releases. Events are related in a symbolical but bizarre and surrealistic manner, humorous on the surface but of course reflecting an atmosphere that is far from amusing.
Two of the citizens are doctors, unrelated but with the same name: Big Dr Guarameto, who had been trained in Germany, and Little Dr Guarameto, whose training had been in Italy. Big Dr Guarameto’s standing varied with the standing of Germany. When the Germans are in occupation, his position is relatively strong, especially as the German commandant was an old university friend of his, and Dr Guarameto gave a great dinner to him and his staff. When the Germans leave, his position is weakened; but then, when Germany was divided into a capitalist and a communist country, it becomes rather arbitrary with which Germany he is identified.
In Part Three, at the time of the “Doctors’ Plot” in the Soviet Union, both doctors are put under arrest while investigators, trained in Moscow, collect “evidence” that they had killed many of their patients. And that dinner Big Dr Guarameto had given to the German officer in 1943 was used in evidence against him. The interrogation of the doctor is a prolonged part of this section of the book - no longer bizarre now, but grimly representative of the knowledge that the investigators in such cases had accumulated before the questioning. As in the case of the Russian doctors, there was an attempt to link this case with a Zionist conspiracy, and Dr Guarmeto is tortured to make him sign statements which he knew were not true.
In the Soviet Union the death of Stalin led to the release and rehabilitation of the seven surviving Jewish doctors who had been arrested in connection with the “Plot”. Kadare’s novel does not end in a similar way.
I did not find this one of Kadare’s better novels. These often have surrealistic elements, but in this book I found the admixture less successful than in some others, inconsistent and somewhat off-putting.
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.
Review by Adam Yamey, the author of "ALBANIA ON MY MIND"
First up for me this year on the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize shortlist was a visit to Armenia. Last week I was recalling if I’d read any Turkish fiction before, well I can categorically state that this is my first foray into Armenian literature. In 2005 Ismail Kadare became the first winner of the Man Booker International Prize, an award for a body of work (not a single piece of writing), beating a well-known shortlist including Margaret Attwood, Milan Kundera, Philip Roth , Gunter Grass, John Updike, Doris Lessing, Ian McEwan, Muriel Spark and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He has been nominated for the Nobel Prize twice before and apparently is “Albania’s best known poet and novelist”. His conflicts with the communist party has seen him live in exile in France since 1990. This novel is set in the town of his birth Gjirokastër the ancient “stone city” which is close to the Greek border.
This short novel, my edition is 168 pages, covers the period 1943-1953 in three “parts”. We commence with the German “liberation” of Albania (more precicely Gjirokastër) as the Italian withdrawal of power commences. As the German “peaceful” efforts in taking control of Gjirokastër are tackled by an anonymous Albanian resistance force who shoot at the lead German motorcyclists, the ancient city of Gjirokastër is now under threat. The city surrenders in a mythical way, nobody knows who waved the white flag and the talk in the coffee houses is that it was merely the wind blowing a large white curtain.
For my full review go to [...]