The Palace of Dreams
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“Spare, suspenseful, and quietly terrifying, this is a novel that many would call Kafkaesque. . . . In The Palace of Dreams Kadare has composed a remarkable literary work of international stature."—Wall Street Journal
The mysterious Palace of Dreams stands at the heart of a vast but fragile Balkan empire. Inside, workers assiduously sift, sort, classify, and ultimately interpret the dreams of the empire’s citizens. The workers search out Master-Dreams that will provide clues to the destiny of the empire and its Sultan. Mark-Alem, scion of a noble family that has provided viziers to the Sultan from time immemorial, and whose power the Sultan distrusts, is recruited into the Palace of Dreams at the humblest level.
He immediately feels the terrible pressure that drives his coworkers, the dread of overlooking a crucial dream whose capture and interpretation might avert political disaster. But he rapidly rises through the hierarchy—only barely ﬁnding his bearings in one section of the Palace’s labyrinthine passages that represent the entire empire’s consciousness laid bare before he is promoted to another. And the pressure only increases as he becomes familiar with the fates of subversive dreamers and personally responsible for the sorts of dreams that might ruin an entire family. A family like his own with this beautifully bound hardcover edition, The Palace of Dreams is powerfully imagined and beautifully written, a national classic from one of Albania’s premiere literary voices.
they were odd: At one time he’d devote himself to oceanography, at another to architecture, and lately it had been music. He was a confirmed bachelor, went riding with the Austrian consul’s son, and was said to carry on a sentimental correspondence with several mysterious ladies. In short, he led a life that was as pleasant as it was frivolous, the absolute opposite of the lives led by his brothers. Mark-Alem might have thought of imitating him, but he knew he was incapable of it. Now, listening
the abduction of women and girls; wedding processions to marriages full of danger; khroushks* rooted to the spot with fear lest they’ve made some mistake; horses drunk on wine; knights who’ve been treacherously blinded riding on blinded steeds through mountains holding their breath; owls foretelling woe; knockings at the gates of strange manor houses at night; a macabre challenge to a duel, issued to a dead man by a live one lurking around his grave with a pack of two hundred hounds; the moans of
We’ve felt only the surface repercussions, as you do in an earthquake with a very deep hypocenter… . So, as I was saying, during the night a terrible clash took place between the two rival groups, the two forces that counterbalance one another within the State. The entire capital is in an uproar, but no one knows anything definite. After all, even we, who’re at the very source of the mystery, are still in the dark.” Mark-Alem was tempted to say he had handled the beastly dream twice himself, but
wrested from the grasp of the Palace of Dreams. He felt that if he was crouching there it was to protect himself, and that if ever, some late afternoon like this, he gave in to the call of life and left his refuge, the spell would be broken. The wind would turn against the Quprilis and the men would come for him as they’d come for Kurt, and take him, perhaps a little less unceremoniously, to the place from which there is no returning. But despite these thoughts he didn’t take his face away from
page. At one point Mark-Alem noticed he’d stopped reading and was just staring vaguely at the file. He seemed to be thinking over what he’d just read. This went on for some time, perhaps for as long as the time he’d spent actually reading. Eventually the boss rubbed his eyes as if to remove one last mist from them, and looked up at Mark-Alem. The fearsome wave, which had already lost much of its force when Mark-Alem first saw it, had now completely disappeared. “Are you the new one?” Mark-Alem