Author(s): Ismail Kadare
When the construction of a bridge built to link the Balkans to Europe is repeatedly and mysteriously sabotaged, an old ballad starts making the rounds at local taverns. The bards sing of a legend - a woman immured in a castle wall to prevent it from falling. Some say the bridge is being damaged by local ferrymen, others blame the vengeful water spirits. But this is a town where terror and superstition reign and a solution must be reached. So it is decreed: a willing person must be plastered into the bridge.
A hard-hitting parable about the conflicts that have ravaged the Balkan states, by Albania's most influential novelist.
Ismail Kadare, born in 1936 in the mountain town of Gjirokaster, near the Greek border, is Albania's best-known poet and novelist. Since the appearance of The General of the Dead Army in 1965, Kadare has published scores of stories and novels that make up a panorama of Albanian history linked by a constant meditation on the nature and human consequences of dictatorship. His works brought him into frequent conflict with the authorities from 1945 to 1985. In 1990 he sought political asylum in France, and now divides his time between Paris and Tirana. He is the winner of the first ever Man Booker International Prize.