The successor

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The Successor (fragment)
by Ismail Kadare

Silence had fallen all around, but when he managed to turn on the light and make it brighter, he laughed out loud. He turned the switch further, until the light was at maximum strength, then laughed again, ha-ha-ha, as if he’d just found a toy that pleased him. Everyone laughed with him, and the game went on until he began to turn the dimmer down. As the brightness dwindled, little by little everything began to freeze, to go lifeless, until all the many lamps in the room went dark.

Synopsis book

The Successor is a powerful political novel based on the sudden, mysterious death of the man who had been handpicked to succeed the hated Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha.

The man who died was Mehmet Shehu, the presumed heir to the ailing dictator. The world was so certain that he was next in line that he was known as The Successor. And then, shortly before he was to assume power, he was found dead. Did he commit suicide or was he murdered?

The Successor is simultaneously a page-turning mystery, a historical novel – based on actual events and buttressed by the author’s private conversations with the son of the real-life Mehmet Shehu – and a psychological challenge to the reader to decide, How does one live when nothing is sure? The Successor seamlessly blends dream and reality, legendary past, and contemporary history, and proves again that Kadare stands alongside Márquez, Canetti, and Auster.

The man who died was Mehmet Shehu, the presumed heir to the ailing dictator. The world was so certain that he was next in line that he was known as The Successor. And then, shortly before he was to assume power, he was found dead. Did he commit suicide or was he murdered?

The Successor is simultaneously a page-turning mystery, a historical novel – based on actual events and buttressed by the author’s private conversations with the son of the real-life Mehmet Shehu – and a psychological challenge to the reader to decide, How does one live when nothing is sure? The Successor seamlessly blends dream and reality, legendary past, and contemporary history, and proves again that Kadare stands alongside Márquez, Canetti, and Auster.

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