Paperbacks: Agamemnon's Daughter, by Ismail Kadare

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The Independent Culture

Written in the 1980s ice age of Enver Hoxha's regime, the two central novellas in this collection (translated by David Bellos) show the Albanian master at his minatory best, fusing the moods of Kafka and Orwell. In the title tale, a timid hack given a seat with the bigwigs for the annual parade recalls the terror that felled friends - and menaces his lover. "The Blinding Order" mines Ottoman history for a chilling fable of inscrutable tyranny and collective surrender.