Ismail Kadare: Kukulla (The Doll)

The latest addition to my website is Ismail Kadare‘s Kukulla (The Doll). This novel is very different from his usual historical novels, it is an autobiographical novel, focussing on his life but, in particular, on the eponymous doll, who is his fragile mother. We follow her life as she arrives as a seventeen-year old bride, having not met her husband till the wedding ceremony. The house she is to live in is very different from what she is used to. The house is forbidding and oppressing (it eats me up, she will later say). It even has its own jail. Even more forbidding is her mother-in-law, the dragon mother-in-law of myth and legend. We also follow Kadare’s career as a writer from his novels which are mainly ads for the novels, rather than novels themselves, to his early publication of poetry and finally his exile to France. It is an enjoyable novel, if not of the calibre of his early work.

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