Albanian Ismael Kadare's newest: The Accident
- Doug Johnstone
- 6 August 2010
The author obliquely examines his homeland's paradocixal nature
Albania’s foremost literary writer and winner of the Man Booker International Prize has spent his career examining his homeland’s paradoxical nature. This latest offering from Ismael Kadare does the same but more obliquely, with a central premise that’s intriguing but never fully fleshed-out. When an Albanian couple are thrown from a taxi leaving the carriageway on route to Vienna airport, their deaths are flagged up by various Balkan secret services, partly because the man worked for the Council of Europe on the delicate diplomacy of the region. As investigators explore the couple’s strange, sadomasochistic relationship, parallels are drawn between it and the political situation in the Balkans.
This opening segment of The Accident is interesting, but Kadare later gets bogged down in endless lovers’ tiffs, accusations and recriminations, and that initial, exciting momentum is lost. A confused and ultimately disappointing read from a writer capable of much better.