by Bashkim Shehu
translated by Diana Alqi Kristo
Northwestern University Press, 2007
Cloth: 978-0-8101-2110-2 | Paper: 978-0-8101-2111-9 | eISBN: 978-0-8101-6222-8
Library of Congress Classification PG9621.S453R7813 2007
Dewey Decimal Classification 891.9913


In a remote Albanian village, a place of banishment, a stranger appears, claiming to be Viktor Dragoti and looking for his long-lost love. That Viktor Dragoti has been dead for nine years, killed by the Albanian coast guard while trying to swim to freedom, only adds to the stranger's mystery--and to the suspense of this curiously real and yet otherworldly work by one of Albania's most distinguished writers. With echoes of The Return of Martin Guerre and Kafka's The Trial, with allusions to The Odyssey and the Albanian folktale of Ago Ymeri, a legendary hero released from the underworld for one day, Shehu's novel blends the autobiographical and the historical, the personal and the political into a powerful tale--a story that conveys the terrors, small and large, of a totalitarian state while capturing all that is surreal and even lyrical in life in such a deeply distorted world.

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