Although Ismail Kadare is an internationally renowned author, I had never read any of his work before and didn't know quite what to expect. At first, this book seemed like just another World War II story, and a rather quiet one at that, lacking in much action. Nazi troops enter the city. Someone fires shots on the advancing tanks and the citizens expect reprisals. Dr Gurameto, who trained in Germany, greets the colonel in charge in the town square and invites him to dinner - they were once old classmates. The next day, the Colonel and his army disappear from the city.
Gradually, however, the story becomes more intriguing. How is the dinner connected with the folk tale of the man who invited a corpse to dinner? I found myself drawn in, and definitely interested in reading more of the author's considerable body of work.
Ismail Kadare was born in 1936 and in 2005 was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for 'a body of work written by an author who has had a truly global impact'.