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Albania’s Kadare, Defier of Dictatorship, Dies at 88
Survivor of totalitarianism: Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare /AFP/File

Acclaimed Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare, long considered a potential Nobel literature laureate, passed away on Monday at the age of 88 due to a heart attack. This sad news was confirmed by his editor as well as the hospital in Tirana where he was taken.

Efforts were made by doctors to revive Kadare when he arrived at the hospital without any signs of life. Despite their attempts, he was declared dead at 8:40 am local time (0640 GMT).

Kadare is best known for his novels such as “Broken April” and “The General of the Dead Army,” where he employed metaphor and subtle sarcasm to capture the tragic and surreal experiences of Albania and its people under the oppressive communist regime of Enver Hoxha.

After defecting to France in 1990, Kadare was labelled a traitor by Albania’s communist leaders. Nonetheless, he was also accused by some of having enjoyed a privileged life under Hoxha’s paranoid rule, a claim he addressed with sharp irony.

“Against whom was Enver Hoxha protecting me? Against Enver Hoxha?” Kadare remarked to AFP in 2016, highlighting the absurdity of the accusations against him.

In one of his last interviews in October, Kadare reflected on the stifling nature of life under communism. “The hell of communism, like every other hell, was smothering in the worst sense of the term,” he said.

He credited literature for giving him the strength to endure such an oppressive environment. “Literature transformed that into a life force, a force which helped you survive and hold your head up and win out over dictatorship,” he explained.

“Which is why I am so grateful for literature, because it gives me the chance to overcome the impossible,” said the visibly frail yet determined author, who continued to work until his final days.

Kadare’s passing is a significant loss for the literary world, marking the end of an era for a writer who masterfully chronicled the challenges and triumphs of life under a totalitarian regime.

Source: AFP