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The Fall of the Stone City

The Fall of the Stone City

Author(s): Ismail Kadare

Location(s): Gjirokaster

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical

Era(s): 1940s



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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Lead Review

The prose frequently evokes Albania’s rich tradition of folklore, invariably in unsettling fashion: “A bitter north wind blew down the Gorge of Tepelene, as it always did when destiny took a turn for the...

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