Biografi, by Lloyd Jones

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The Independent Culture

First published in 1994, long before his Booker-shortlisted Mister Pip made him an international name, this is Lloyd Jones's story of a trip around Albania in the aftermath of communism, in search of the body double of the late Communist dictator, Enver Hoxha.

Spooky, tense and darkly weird, it describes a country trying to make sense of itself in which a man is no more than his "biografi". Mister Pip was a dense close-up of a claustrophobic island, that finally expanded to take in the wide world; Biografi starts big and then zooms in. This is Jones's skill: to draw tiny details that contain the world.

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