Young Ismail’s world centres around his mother. Naive and fragile as a paper doll, she is an unlikely presence in her husband’s imposing house, with its hidden rooms and infamous dungeon. Yet despite her youthful nature, she is not without her own enigmas. Most of all, she fears that her intellectual, radical son will exchange her for a superior mother when he becomes a famous writer.
From the winner of the first ever Man Booker International Prize, this is a disarming story of home and creative ambition, of personal and political freedom. Rooted in the author’s own childhood in Albania, it is dedicated to the memory of his mother.
Translated by John Hodgson.