Albania

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FICTION
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Fatos Lubonja (Tirana, 1951) finished his physics studies in 1974. In the same year was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for “agitation and propaganda” after police found his writings, which contained criticisms of the dictator Hoxha. In 1979, while still incarcerated, faced a second accusation, as a member of a counterrevolutionary organisation” and was sentenced to a further 16 years. Following his release from prison in 1991, he became involved in human rights, as General Secretary of the Albanian Helsinki Committee. In 1994 he founded the quarterly review Përpjekja (“Endeavour”), an endeavour to introduce a critical spirit in the Albanian culture (http://www.revistaperpjekja.org). As a writer he has published among other titles: Ploja e Mbrame (The Final Slaughter, 1994), Në Vitin e Shtatëmbëdhjetë (In the Seventeenth Year, 1994) translated into Italian, Ridënimi (The Second Sentence, 1996), a documentary novel describing his second trial, published by I. B. Tauris in 2009. Among his many literary prizes, he received the Alberto Moravia Prize for International Literature in 2002 and the Herder Prize for Literature in 2004.

Nëntëdhjeteshtata (False Apocalypse)
Tirana, 1997: after the world’s most isolated country emerged from a Stalinist dictatorship and opened to capitalism, many people fell prey to fraudsters who invited them to invest in so-called ‘pyramid schemes’. At the start of 1997, these pyramids crumbled one after another causing wide-spread demonstrations and protests. The conflict became increasingly violent, leading to the collapse of the state and of the country’s institutions. Prisons were opened, crowds stormed arms depots, and the country was abandoned to anarchy and gang rule.

Lubonja has chosen to tell this incredible story through a narrative technique that operates on
two levels: a third-person narrator, who describes the large-scale events that made international
headlines, and the narrative of Fatos Qorri, the author’s alter ego, who describes his own dramatic experiences in a personal diary. The book begins with the synopsis of a novel entitled The Sugar Boat that Fatos Qorri intends to write about the spread of a small pyramid scheme luring people to invest supposedly in a sugar business. However, as the major pyramids collapse, real events overtake anything he has imagined and Fatos Qorri finds himself in the midst of a real-life tragedy.

260 Pages – Rights Sold: English (Istros Books) – Original language: Albanian

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