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.
next day’s coffee break and be able to have another chat. The crowd was thinning by now, and Mark-Alem tried to find one of the faces he’d seen before in the Selection department. In vain. He had to ask the way back there twice. When he arrived he crept in quietly, trying not to be noticed. The last chairs were still being scraped into place. Nearly all the clerks were ensconced at their long tables again. Mark-Alem tiptoed to his desk, drew out his chair, and sat down. He did nothing for a few
the notice of his own sister. It was with some uneasiness that she followed the discussion about the Tabir Sarrail, in which everyone except her son was now taking part. Yes, everyone except Mark-Alem, though he now spent his days in the very heart of the Tabir … His mother’s mind worked feverishly. Had she spent all that time watching over her son only to throw him in the end into a cage of wild beasts? A place that, despite the honor of his appointment, was really only the blind, cruel, even
paper recording a dream in which a group of men in black crossed a ditch and disappeared into a snow-covered plain. Suddenly the meaning of the dream seemed quite clear to him: A group of officials who’d committed some fraud against the State had overcome the obstacles ranged against them and reached the safety of the white plain; this meant the fall of the government. Mark-Alem swiftly wrote down this explanation, but hadn’t completed the last few words before he thought to himself: But this is
breath, he thought he heard a sound. When he turned around he was astonished to see a group of men in long capes vanishing in the distance down the corridor. On the second floor he passed another group, a bunch of gloomy-looking individuals. The sound of footsteps came from the other corridors. What were all these comings and goings? he wondered, and he thought again of the man he’d met in the corridor down by the Archives. Something must be going on in the Palace. He hurried on, eager to get
damp. A short time later another carriage brushed by them equally impetuously, and although there were no street lights, Mark-Alem thought he saw the letter Q again. Despite the darkness he even waved his arms in the hope that the carriage would stop and drive them home. But it galloped off into the mist. Mark-Alem concluded it was foolish to expect help from anyone tonight, this night of anguish full of capital Qs swooping by like birds of ill omen. * * * It was long past midnight when they