Bookshelf

1 October 2014

Ismail Kadare
Translated by David Bellos
Random House India
256 pages, Rs. 599

In a dormitory room in Moscow in 1958, a young writer is woken by the sound of angry voices on the radio, and hears the news that a novel called Doctor Zhivago has earned its author the Nobel Prize even as he faces exile. A few days earlier the young writer had found a copy of this book. Could those simple pages really be so dangerous? Available in English for the first time, this novel is a fictionalised recreation of Kadare’s time as a student at the prestigious Gorky Institute for World Literature—a strange “factory of the intellect” set up to produce a new generation of Socialist writers.