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The Palace Of Dreams (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 4 Dec 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics (4 Dec. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099518279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099518273
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 243,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Kadare's most daring novel, one of the most complete visions of totalitarianism ever committed to paper" (Vanity Fair)

"If there is a book worth banning in a dictatorship, this is it" (Guardian)

"Kadare's delicately misted view of another world (as much internal as totalitarian) lives up to the splendour of his title" (Independent on Sunday)

"Inexorably takes your breath away" (Herald)

Book Description

A novel which arose from the author's ambition to invent a hell of his own, Kadare's macabre vision of tyranny and oppression was banned immediately when it first appeared in Albania in 1981.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come.
Ismail Kadare's "The Palace of Dreams" is a book that reads like Kafka as influenced by the painter M.C. Escher with a bit of "1001 Arabian Nights" thrown in for good measure.
Ismail Kadare is an Albanian poet and writer. He is also the winner of the first Man Booker International Prize in 2005 and was selected from a list of nominees that included Saul Bellow, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Naguib Mahfouz, Milan Kundera, and Gunter Grass. The Palace of Dreams is one of his best known, many say best, work.
"Palace of Dreams" is set some time in the 19th-century in an Islamic-ruled Ottoman Empire that includes the Balkans (including Kadare's native Albania). The Palace of the title is a mammoth office building where the dreams of everyone in the kingdom are submitted for analysis. It is a Byzantine bureaucracy whose complexity is matched only by the dark, complex hallways and byways of the building itself. The Sultanate considers the dreams of his subjects to contain clues to the future. Like an oracle of Delphi, dreams are interpreted to predict plots against the Sultan or threat to the Empire generally. The interpretation of dreams is a powerful tool used to run the Empire and control its citizens and as a result the Palace of Dreams is the most feared agency in existence.
Into the Palace of Dreams steps a young new employee, Mark-Alem. Mark-Alem is a member of the Quprili family. The Quprilis are a powerful family of Albanian origin. For generations the family has produced high-ranking Viziers, the approximate equivalent of Cabinet Ministers, to the Sultan. Although a powerful family the Quprili's relationship over the years with various Sultans has been rocky and has been marked by purges and bitter in-fighting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andre Nobrega on 11 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
The book follows Mark-Alem, a member of the Quprilis, a very important family in an Empire under a totalitarian regime, who starts working in the Tabir Sarrail. Known as the Palace of Dreams, the Tabir Sarrail is a kind of government department that catalogues and interprets all the dreams that the people report as the dreams sometimes include prophecies. As Mark-Alem rises in the Palace's hierarchy, he learns about its purpose, the most important one being the choice and interpretation of the Master-Dream, one which has consequences to the state or its rulers and for that is presented directly to the state's Sovereign, the Sultan.
The story is always told from Mark-Alem's point of view, and the reader learns everything as he does, understanding the event as they unravel around him. In the beginning, the author seems to concentrate in making the reader understand Mark-Alem, his thoughts, his habits, his insecurities, his family and his work. But after a while, the plot thickens as it focuses on the relationships between the Quprili family and the Tabir Sarrail, as Mark-Alem himself starts to understand what happens inside the Palace of Dreams, building up to the moment where he understands how far the rulers will go acting solely on what has been interpreted in a dream. Kadare still keeps a surprise to the very end of the book, which you may predict if you were paying attention to the details all the way from the very beginning.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Flembo on 30 May 2007
Format: Paperback
Kadare succeeds in this novel by weaving together the fabrics of nightmarish surrealism and the reflections of a trapped subject to portray the fear and paranoia generated by a communistic ideal, his own world.

This is classic Kadare, creating both apprehension and anticipation. A haunting allegory which leaves you questioning the boundaries where real meets surreal.

An excellent read.
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By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 April 2013
Format: Paperback
This novel first appeared in Communist Albania and was promptly banned by the authorities. Set in the 19th century Ottoman Empire, the Palace of Dream is a vast building in Constantinople to which the local authorities send the dreams of the people of their province. They initially go to a department where they are selected for their possible significance; those selected in this way are then forwarded to a more senior department for interpretation; the most important of these which are thought to have a bearing of the safety of the state become Master Dreams and are sent on to the Sultan. Each step in fraught with problems: which of them seem significant enough to be sent for interpretation? How are they to be interpreted? All the people working in the Palace of Dreams from top to bottom are terrified of making a mistake.

The central character, Mark-Alem, joins the Palace of Dreams. On his mother's side he is related to the famous Albanian Quprili (Köprülü) family which has produced several powerful Viziers and other high state servants. Their history is studded with dramatic promotions and equally dramatic depositions and worse when the Sultan become suspicious of their eminence. Mark-Alem is initially persuaded by his family to enrol in the Palace of Dreams, where his promotion through the layers of the bureaucracy is astonishingly fast, without Mark-Alem planning to advance in this way: in no way is he a schemer; rather he is an innocent who does not understand his promotions which do not in any way relieve him from his permanent anxiety.

The atmosphere in the Palace is positively Kafkaesque - innumerable long corridors in which it is easy to get lost; a horde of clerks working silently, worriedly and for long hours over mountains of files.
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