Ismail Kadare, one of the world's greatest novelists, and a former Ninth Letter contributor (issue #4, fall/winter 2005), has won Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias Award in Letters. Kadare is also the recipient of the International Booker Prize, among many other recognitions of his work. The Albanian writer is a master at depicting the fear, paranoia and illogic engendered by totalitarian political systems.
Ninth Letter excerpted a chapter from Kadare's then-forthcoming novel The Successor, and here is a chilling moment from that excerpt, when the architect charged with designing and building the dictator's new home makes an unsettling discovery as he reviews his finished creation:
"Nothing could have been more terrifying to the architect than the sight of that door. It had been fitted by someone else, without his having been informed; but that would not save him from having to answer for it if any problems arose. He would have preferred not to know, to have never known about it, but bad luck had deemed otherwise."