Written by 06:22 World

Ismail Kadare Dies at 88; Novels Brought Albania’s Plight to the World

Ismail Kadare, the Albanian novelist and poet who single-handedly wrote his isolated Balkan homeland onto the map of world literature, creating often dark, allegorical works that obliquely criticized the country’s totalitarian state, died on Monday in Tirana, the Albanian capital. He was 88.

His death was confirmed by Bujar Hudhri, the head of Onufri Publishing House, who was his editor and publisher in Albania. He said that Mr. Kadare went into cardiac arrest at his home and died at a hospital.

In a literary career that spanned half a century, Mr. Kadare (pronounced kah-dah-RAY) wrote scores of books, including novels and collections of poems, short stories and essays. He shot to international fame in 1970 when his first novel, “The General of the Dead Army,” was translated into French. European critics hailed it as a masterpiece.

Mr. Kadare’s name was floated several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature, but the honor eluded him. In 2005, he received the inaugural Man Booker International Prize (now the International Booker Prize), awarded to a living writer of any nationality for overall achievement in fiction. The finalists included such literary titans as Gabriel García Márquez and Philip Roth.

In awarding the prize, the British critic John Carey, the panel’s chairman, called Mr. Kadare “a universal writer in a tradition of storytelling that goes back to Homer.”


Last modified: 2 July 2024