The General of the Dead Army (Quartet Encounters)

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9780704334977: The General of the Dead Army (Quartet Encounters)

Twenty years after World War II, an Italian general is sent to Albania to recover the remains of his country's fallen soldiers. Accompanied by a quarrelsome priest, the general digs up battlefields full of unmarked graveyards, checking teeth and dog tags, assembling a dead army in pine-box uniforms. Battling the elements and the growing hostility of the locals, the general finds that what he sees as a mission of mercy, they see as an opportunity for revenge against their former conquerors. Then, in a terrible crescendo, he is made to answer for the crimes of his country and all others that have invaded this land of eagles. But nothing, not his words nor his actions, can change the past or make amends. Enthralling and poignant, The General of the Dead Army beautifully elegizes all those sent abroad to die in battle.

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Review:

The General of the Dead Army, Ismail Kadare's meditation on the consequences of war, is a hugely moving account of duty and loss. It is 20 years since the end of World War II and an Italian army general is sent to Albania to search again for the bodies of those who lost their lives in the campaign. He is armed with maps, lists, measurements, and dental and other records. He tours the countryside organizing digs and disinterments and, as he tries to find the dead sons of forgotten families, he wonders at the sense, and scale, of his task. He talks and argues with the curt Italian priest who is accompanying him. He finds his footsteps followed, sometimes anticipated, by a fellow general who is also looking for bodies--the bodies of his German countrymen. He struggles with the Albanian countryside, weather, laborers who work for him, and peasants who watch their work. And he fights the despair that grows as the size, scope, and, ultimately, the hopelessness of his task becomes ever more apparent.

Kadare's plaintive novel is a consistently heartfelt lament to all those who have died and been affected by war, but it is also a beautiful work displaying the skills that make him one of the great modern European writers. --Mark Thwaite, Amazon.co.uk

About the Author:

Ismail Kadare has written more than 20 novels, dozens of short stories, and a volume of poetry. Acclaimed worldwide as one of the most important writers of our time, he lives in Paris and Tirana.

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Ismail Kadare
Published by Texas Bookman (1996)
ISBN 10: 0704334976 ISBN 13: 9780704334977
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Ismail Kadare
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