Albania

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The Siege by Ismail Kadare

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In the early fifteenth century, as winter falls away, the people of Albania know that their fate is sealed. They have refused to negotiate with the Ottoman Empire, and war is now inevitable. Soon enough dust kicked up by Turkish horses is spotted from a citadel. Brightly coloured banners, hastily constructed minarets and tens of thousands of men fill the plain below. From this moment on, the world is waiting to hear that the fortress has fallen. The Siege tells the enthralling story of the weeks and months that follow – of the exhilaration and despair of the battlefield, the constantly shifting strategies of war, and those whose lives are held in balance, from the Pasha himself to the technicians, artillerymen, astrologer, blind poet and harem of women that accompany him.


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Stalin's Barber By Paul M. Levitt

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Avraham Bahar leaves debt-ridden and depressed Albania to seek a better life in, ironically, Stalinist Russia. A professional barber, he curries favor with the Communist regime, ultimately being invited to become Stalin s personal barber at the Kremlin, where he is entitled to live in a government house with other Soviet dignitaries. In the intrigue that follows Avraham, now known as Razan, he is not only barber to Stalin but also to the many Stalin look-alikes that the paranoid dictator circulates to thwart possible assassination attempts including one from Razan himself.


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The Country Where No One Ever Dies by Ornela Vorpsi

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A young girl’s father is constantly forcing her to kiss him, and her aunt predicts that she will grow up to be a whore. With Albania's communist regime crumbling around them, sex, dictatorship, and death are inescapable subjects for the girl and her family;though the protagonist of The Country Where No One Ever Dies always confronts the ridiculousness of her often brutal reality with unflappable irony and a peculiar kind of common sense. Her name and age changing from moment to moment, she is an unforgettable portrait of the imagination under siege, while The Country Where No One Ever Dies is itself a one-of-a-kind atlas to a land where black comedy is simply a way of life


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The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson

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Meli Lleshi is positive that her drawing of her teacher with his pelican nose started it all. The Lleshis are Albanians living in Kosovo, a country trying to fight off Serbian oppressors, and suddenly they are homeless refugees. Old and young alike, they find their courage tested by hunger, illness, the long, arduous journey, and danger on every side. Then, unexpectedly, they are brought to America by a church group and begin a new life in a small Vermont town. The events of 9/11 bring more challenges for this Muslim family--but this country is their home now and there can be no turning back. A compassionate, powerful novel by a master storyteller.