Novels & Plays Ismail Kadare The pyramid

ISBN 13: 9781860461248

The pyramid

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9781860461248: The pyramid

From the Albanian writer who has been short-listed for the Nobel Prize comes a hypnotic narrative of ancient Egypt, a work that is at once a historical novel and an exploration of the horror of untrammeled state power. It is 2600 BC. The Pharaoh Cheops is inclined to forgo the construction of a pyramid in his honor, but his court sages hasten to persuade him otherwise. The pyramid, they tell him, is not a tomb but a paradox: it keeps the Egyptian people content by oppressing them utterly. The pyramid is the pillar that holds power aloft. If it wavers, everything collapses.And so the greatest pyramid ever begins to rise. It is a monument that crushes dozens of men with the placing of each of its tens of thousands of stones. It is the subject of real and imaginary conspiracies that necessitate ruthless purges and fantastic tortures. It is a monster that will consume all Egypt before it swallows the body of Cheops himself. As told by Ismail Kadare, The Pyramid is a tour de force of Kafkaesque paranoia and Orwellian political prophecy. "A haunting meditation on the matter-of-fact brutality of political despotism." - The New York Times Book Review"Kadare's prose glimmers with the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez." - Los Angeles Times Book Review"One of the most compelling novelists now writing in any language." - Wall Street Journal

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Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

From Publishers Weekly:

Albanian novelist Kadare (The Concert), living in political exile in France since 1991, spins cogent tales about the temptations and evils of totalitarian bureaucracy. His latest carries a universal message. Set in ancient Egypt-where Pharaoh Cheops oversees the construction of his tomb, the highest, most majestic pyramid ever, to be built by tens of thousands of his brainwashed subjects-the novel's hypnotically Kafkaesque narrative exposes the alienating, destructive effects of investing unquestioned power in a ruler, a state or a religion. The massive pyramid devours Egypt's resources and energies. Thousands die as it rises ever higher, and Cheops, depicted as a power-mad lunatic who craves adulation, periodically unleashes waves of arrests and torture of those falsely accused of sabotaging the project. Analogies to Stalin's paranoia, bloody purges and other terrors spring to mind, but the story takes on a broader meaning, demonstrating how a state or a ruling elite can mold public opinion so that its citizens willingly act against their own best interests. As the narrative closes, it leaps ahead centuries to display Timur the Lame (Tamerlane) erecting in central Asia a pyramid made of 70,000 skulls. Through this closing image, and the horrors that precede it, Kadare again proves himself a master of the political parable.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Kadare, Ismail; translated by David Bellos
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Book Description Harvill, London, 1996. 1st English ed.. Paperback trade, very good condition, minor edgewear, corner tips covers & pages creased. 119 pp. (Translated from Albanian into French, then into English.) A transparent parable of life under a Communist dictatorship in Albania, told with the same quiet, sardonic humour and keen eye for the pertinent detail that characterised his previous novels: The Palace of Dreams, and The Concert. Bookseller Inventory # 22907

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