Staff Book Reviews

The Accident by Ismail Kadare

by Adult Services Library Associate Christian

The legendary Albanian author Ismail Kadare is a prolific writer, having written a great amount of novels, poetry, and essays throughout his tenure in the literary world. His 2008 (translated in 2010 by John Hodgson) novel The Accident is no different to the themes conjured throughout his career—having to do with the fracturing of the Balkans, from the end of the People’s Socialist Republic of Alabania to the balkanizing of Yugoslavia; however, this novel is special in the way that it presents this split in South-Eastern Europe, as the novel is centered around a car crash involving a taxi and the mystery behind the couple in the back seat of this taxi that were in a moment of love or hate.

This novel is an intentional mess of structure, moving from point of views, how the novel is styled, and the time period the events are taken place. This uncompromising novel reflects the fractured Balkans through the 20th century (and early new millennium)—a confusing, traumatic century for the people living in this region. This is represented through the symbolic couple of Besfort Y. and Rovena—a relationship based in lies, cheating, and eventually, separation and death. The history of their relationship is just as confusing as the history of the Balkans.

The story is one that aptly represents a time where the state of the Balkans was up the air, and The Hague, a city in the Netherlands known for its International Court of Justice, became a location all too familiar within the news of political officials of the Balkans (and a location present within the latter half of The Accident).

While the novel does not land entirely on its feet in its pace—its story and structure is something that represents a time of horror and uncertainty through a creative flow. Kadare showcases his original voice in an often-forgotten, but still ever-present moment in history.

You can reserve The Accident on our catalog.

Similar Reads:

The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andrić

My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovic

Belladonna by Daa Drndi