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False Apocalypse
False Apocalypse

False Apocalypse

From Stalinism to Capitalism

By Fatos Lubonja, Translated by John Hodgson


260 Pages, 5 x 7.75

Formats: Trade Paper, EPUB, Mobipocket

Trade Paper, $15.95 (CA $21.95) (US $15.95)

Publication Date: January 2016

ISBN 9781908236197

Rights: US, CA, SAM & CAR

Istros Books (Jan 2016)


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A disturbing work concerning the events of 1997, a tragic year in the history of post-communist Albania

After the world's most isolated country emerged from Stalinist dictatorship and opened to capitalism, many people fell prey to fraudsters who invited them to invest in so-called "pyramid schemes." At the start of 1997, these pyramids crumbled one after another, causing widespread demonstrations and protests. The conflict became increasingly violent, leading to the collapse of the state and of the country's institutions. Prisons were opened, crowds stormed arms depots, and the country was abandoned to anarchy and gang rule. Lubonja has chosen to tell this incredible story through a narrative technique that operates on two levels: a third-person narrator, who describes the large-scale events that made international headlines, and the narrative of Fatos Qorri, the author's alter ego, who describes his own dramatic experiences in a personal diary. The book begins with the synopsis of a novel entitled The Sugar Boat that Fatos Qorri intends to write about the spread of a small pyramid scheme luring people to invest supposedly in a sugar business. However, as the major pyramids collapse, real events overtake anything he has imagined, and Fatos Qorri finds himself in the midst of a real-life tragedy.


"Lubonja's telling of the events are gripping, and we learn that below any surface visible to outsiders, there was an intelligentsia, silenced by covert violence. If only their voice could have been heard and supported, how very different Albania would be today." —Central & Eastern European Review

Author Biography

Fatos Lubonja is a writer and editor of the quarterly journal Përpjekja, representative of the Forum for Democracy, and a leading figure in Albania's political life. At 23, Lubonja was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for "agitation and propaganda" after police found his diaries, which contained criticisms of Hoxha. He was re- sentenced without trial and spent a total of 17 years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement, and was released in 1991. John Hodgson studied English at Cambridge and Newcastle. He has taught at the universities of Prishtina and Tirana and is the translator of Ismail Kadare's Three-Arched Bridge. He has written about Albania, Kosova, the British Balkan traveler Edith Durham, and the novelist John Cowper Powys. He now works as an Albanian-English translator and interpreter.