After reading The Successor (as an off comment this is my first Kadare) I was wondering if this was some sort of political allegory but after some research the events in this book actually did happen, so I guess there’s a more historical aspect to the novel.
The premise is simple but at the same time complex. The successor to the Albanian government is found dead in his room with a gun next to him. This triggers (no pun intended) mass speculation on whether the Successor was murdered or committed suicide. A lot of the book focuses on the events leading to this action and the reader is in for a mighty plot twist towards the end of the novel.
But this is almost secondary.
The real emphasis here lies on how The Successor’s death affects certain people, namely his daughter Suzane who was engaged to a person that could have created a civil Albania, The Successor’s pathologist and the architect who built his house. All of these three people feel that they contributed to his death and wonder how the state would react when faced with the evidence that they indirectly killed The Successor.
The other focus is on Albania’s political history. As we all know politics is a dirty business and Kadare shows no prudence in revealing corruption and the workings behind certain decisions. This is exemplified through Suzane’s memory, which takes place early one in the book.
Despite all these happenings, I felt vaguely unsatisfied when reading the book. I cannot say I loved it or will embrace it as on of my top books. Mainly because I felt that something was missing, it felt like a novel that didn’t want to engross you, rather create a barrier (except in the Suzane chapters.Those are fully realised). People have said that Kadare is Kafkaesque, which in a way is right but whereas Kafka could engross you with his intricate webs, I felt that The Successor didn’t manage completely.
However it still is worth a shot (argh I promise the pun was not intended) Mainly because the information about Albania’s history interested me . Just a bit of a soul and this would have been the perfect novel