#BOOK ë The General of the Dead Army Î eBook or E-pub free

This is a fascinating book by the first winner of the Man Booker International Prize It is an enigmatic and thought provoking story Although essentially fiction, there are plenty of historical and cultural elements There is mystery and drama, beauty and violence, triumph and tragedy.An Italian general is sent on an official mission to Albania to retrieve the remains of Italian soldiers who were buried there some twenty years ago in the Second World War At the top of his list of dead soldiers This is a fascinating book by the first winner of the Man Booker International Prize It is an enigmatic and thought provoking story Although essentially fiction, there are plenty of historical and cultural elements There is mystery and drama, beauty and violence, triumph and tragedy.An Italian general is sent on an official mission to Albania to retrieve the remains of Italian soldiers who were buried there some twenty years ago in the Second World War At the top of his list of dead soldiers is Colonel Z, who is both an infamous and mysterious figure He is particularly importuned by Colonel Z s family to locate him And what of the beautiful young widow of Colonel Z, whom he married only for two weeks before shipping out to battle The general makes his itinerant journey around the Albanian countryside, with the slow arduous task of disinterring and identifying dead soldiers It is a lonely affair, even though he is accompanied by an army priest, an expert and a local crew of diggers It is not just skeletons that he exhumes All the secrets of the past are dug up as well He finds that their deaths were not as honorable as presumed It is all down to perspective To the families of the deceased, their loved ones died gloriously in the service of their country But the Albanians had a very different view of the former invaders Digging up the graves of the dead soldiers was like removing the outer scab, revealing a deep festering wound beneathI think the men will come But the women may not They feel that it s an act of desecration to open up graves I should say that the women will probably come too I rather suspect they derive a sort of secret satisfaction from the work You amaze me, the general said Is it possible to derive satisfaction from opening up graves For them it s a sort of belated vengeance There was great irony in how the general perceived himself and his macabre mission The General sees the task as a glorious, even Messianic mission, bringing up the dead and returning them to their homeland He was suddenly suffused with a sense of his own power The bodies of thousands of soldiers buried beneath the earth had been waiting so many long years for his arrival, and now he was here at last, like a new Messiah, copiously provided with maps, with lists, with the infallible directions that would enable him to draw them up out of the mud and restore them to their families.Other generals had led those interminable columns of soldiers into defeat and destruction But he, had come to wrest back from oblivion and death the few that remained.He has a competitor, the one armed lieutenant general, who is like an evil twin The lieutenant general also traveled around Albania exhuming graves and identifying soldiers Unlike the methodical and duty bound general, he has no integrity, digging up graves haphazardly, and possibly even delivering the wrong remains to the wrong family The general also has his psychological journey on top of his physical one With each body exhumed and its secrets exposed, the general becomes increasingly jaded view spoiler But despite all the discoveries, he is fatuous and complacent in choosing to gate crash a local wedding feast, to rather disastrous consequences His journey ends in a drunken reverie with, of all people, his rival, the lieutenant general hide spoiler The side stories of the prostitute and the brothel, the deserter, the local hero and of the clandestine relationships all fit in very nicely with the main narrative There were interesting connections with Kadare s other books eg the English pilot of The Chronicle in Stone and the tradition of vengeance of Broken April We are also presented with an insight to Albanian beliefs and attitudes, how they view courage, guns and shooting others The most interesting of all was the extensive use of very apt metaphors The typing of the lists had been started in the spring Young girls, their hair and clothes strictly in accord with the latest fashion, had sat in the long offices at the Ministry, by the tall windows, tapping at the keys of their machines with slender fingers It was almost as though, beneath the indifferent stares of those mascaraed eyes, the soldiers were being machine gunned down yet again He already had this impression of deafness in the Albanian archives, when he had come across the description of the earthquake As if dealing a final blow, it had shaken up the dead a year before he had landed in Albania himself It was as though he had shaken them in their sleep to warn them of his arrival The long and arduous pilgrimage that he saw in his mind as a vision of terror was at last at an end But it wasn t a pilgrimage It had been a march through the valley of the shadow of death I have a whole army of dead men under my command now, he thought Only instead of uniforms they are all wearing nylon bags Blue bags with two white stripes and black edging, made to order by the firm of Olympia Those idiot generals of theirs have just abandoned them and left the burden on my shoulders When I think of all the battles I could have won with them.I salute you, the general of the dead army This is one of the best books I have read by Ismail Kadare so far I loved the symbolism. #BOOK õ The General of the Dead Army ë This is the story of an Italian general, accompanied by his chaplain, charged with the mission of scouring Albania in search of the bones of their fallen countrymen, killed twenty years earlier during World War II Albania is an often forgotten country The paranoia of the Enver Hoxha era led them to fall out with the major players on both sides of the Iron Curtain and since the fall of Communism, only the disastrous pyramid selling scheme and events in neighbouring Kosovo have attracted headlines.Yet it s that very sense of the mysterious that makes it such a fascinating country Ismail Kadare is the country s most celebrated novelist and winner of the first man Booker International Prize he seems nailed Albania is an often forgotten country The paranoia of the Enver Hoxha era led them to fall out with the major players on both sides of the Iron Curtain and since the fall of Communism, only the disastrous pyramid selling scheme and events in neighbouring Kosovo have attracted headlines.Yet it s that very sense of the mysterious that makes it such a fascinating country Ismail Kadare is the country s most celebrated novelist and winner of the first man Booker International Prize he seems nailed on for a Nobel at some point and having read this quiet masterpiece, I am not surprised.A macabre tale, the story revolves around an Italian General making a trip to Albania in the 1960s to recover the bones of his country s war dead A catastrophic military campaign is recalled and one cannot help thinking that the attempt to invade Albania by supposedly superior forces are not unlike those taking place in another country near the beginning of the geographical alphabet today The action builds well and becomesandbizarre, culminating in a pivotal wedding scene Our obsession in the UK and US with the ins and outs of our own literary scenes and unspoken requirement that any significant literary contribution be written in English often leads us to ignore superior foreign writers Kadare should be cherished I bought this in hardcover from Magus books in Seattle, years ago and I m not going to lieit was because I thought it had a cool cover And Kadare s novel then proceeded to sit on my shelves for several years, I knew nothing about him, the novel s reputation, anything One night I couldn t sleep, decided on a whim to check out that novel w the great cover art, andwell, I didn t sleep at all that night, and called in sick to work the next day I just wanted to finish this incredible book I bought this in hardcover from Magus books in Seattle, years ago and I m not going to lieit was because I thought it had a cool cover And Kadare s novel then proceeded to sit on my shelves for several years, I knew nothing about him, the novel s reputation, anything One night I couldn t sleep, decided on a whim to check out that novel w the great cover art, andwell, I didn t sleep at all that night, and called in sick to work the next day I just wanted to finish this incredible book.Kadare is a master, but his first two novels General , and Broken April are masterpieces of the highest order that take you to a country very little known in cinema or Literature Albania and convinces you it is perhaps the most haunted, backwards, violent, accursed, andinteresting small land in the world The full background of the Kanun of Prince Lek, a Medieval code that governs almost everything in Albanian life, is succinctly introduced and addressed by Kadare, making it possible to understand the country even if you were like me, w no knowledge of the place except that it borders the Adriatic and was under the iron grip of a Stalinist head of state for many years.But the place does have a long history, a Millennia long and , and it is only w this backdrop so expertly described by Kadare that the unique aspects of recovering dead foreign soldiers in a formerly occupied land and the endless challenges the Italian general faces none of it would have near the impact it does, w out Kadare s deftly ascribed cultural lesson of the Vendetta, the Basa, and the ominous stone redoubts strewn across the land as places of refuge for men trying to escape their fate, and Vendetta the Kullas This is one of my very favorite novels, along w Kadare s aforementioned Broken April They can, ans probably should, be read back to back, w Chronicle in Stone probably being his other masterpiece though I ve never not finished a Kadare novel he is truly great Encouraged in the strongest possible terms, though please don t let it sit on your bookshelves for two or three years like I did, foolishly Looking at the author s picture on the inside back cover, I am reminded of what a cruel time the 1970s were There are, in fact, a few pictures of me floating around the Internet which I wish would disappear But enough about me Call him Ismail It is 20 years after World War II Twenty years after Italian troops overran Albania The Albanians flashed up pockets of resistance, leaving many Italian soldiers in makeshift graves An Italian general no name returns after negotiations between the Looking at the author s picture on the inside back cover, I am reminded of what a cruel time the 1970s were There are, in fact, a few pictures of me floating around the Internet which I wish would disappear But enough about me Call him Ismail It is 20 years after World War II Twenty years after Italian troops overran Albania The Albanians flashed up pockets of resistance, leaving many Italian soldiers in makeshift graves An Italian general no name returns after negotiations between the governments to find and return the Italian soldiers A priest, a conscience, accompanies the general Among the bodies, they seek to find the enigmatic Colonel Z Was he a deserter Or, instead, the very face of evil This is a quick but powerful read, full of wonderful vignettes Should an old Albanian woman throws a bag of bones at your feet, remember that a mother s curse is never voiced in vain That, and only cross on the green , and you should be okay Maybe it s the next big thing after Kafka s Castle Maybe I didn t figure this out for sure But it teaches a great deal about life in an environment filled with death And the most human character is a deserter The general is a person who is almost there making the change Alas Great stuff. I loved this, the whole mood of it It s an utterly brilliant idea for a book, possibly one of the most profound and unique of modern times A General sent to reclaim the bodies of soldiers who died and were buried on battlefields in a foreign country The combination of the weariness of digging, stultifying bureaucracy and the horror of decomposed bodies gives the whole book an unforgettable atmosphere, unlike anything else. Ismail Kadare s The General of the Dead Army tells the tale of an Italian General who s commissioned to travel to Albania to retrieve the remains of the Italian soldiers who invaded the country during the Second World War By itself this premise is promising, but in the hands of a gifted writer why hasn t Kadare won the Nobel yet it becomes extraordinary Through the eyes of foreigners, Kadare schools us on Albanian History and national identity, a mountainous country where the sea is conside Ismail Kadare s The General of the Dead Army tells the tale of an Italian General who s commissioned to travel to Albania to retrieve the remains of the Italian soldiers who invaded the country during the Second World War By itself this premise is promising, but in the hands of a gifted writer why hasn t Kadare won the Nobel yet it becomes extraordinary Through the eyes of foreigners, Kadare schools us on Albanian History and national identity, a mountainous country where the sea is considered bad luck because it brings in the enemies And there have been many Although Kadare never allows the reader to forget that on one side there was fascism and violent occupation and on the other a small country of peasants, he also makes clear that the years have changed the character of the former invader It s never a chauvinistic book but it is still permeated with the tension from the past It remains in many aspects a war novel where no battles are fought, no trenches are dug, and no one dies It spoignant than that, and farcomplex it s a novel about what war does even decades afterwards, the physical scars it leaves on people and on the land As for Kadare and this novel, I heartily recommend them 4.5 amazing stars I loved the first 200 pages, but the ending wasn t the best I could imagine I love Ismail Kadare, he really represents the best part of Albania What really surprises me, is that even though I m Albanian, when I read Kadare s books I feel like I m foreigner He always sees what the others don t bother to pay attention, that makes him a great writer I think he totally deserves to win a NOBEL.