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Ismail Kadare once called The Palace of Dreams "the most courageous book I have written; in literary terms, it is perhaps the best". When it was first published in the author's native country, it was immediately banned, and for good reason: the novel revolves around a secret ministry whose task is not just to spy on its citizens, but to collect and interpret their dreams. An entire nation's unconscious is thus tapped and meticulously laid bare in the form of images and symbols of the dreaming mind.
The Concert is Kadare's most complete and devastating portrayal of totalitarian rule and mentality. Set in the period when the alliance between Mao's China and Hoxha's Albania was going sour, this brilliant novel depicts a world so sheltered and monotonous that political ruptures and diplomatic crises are what make life exciting.