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And yet, as a journalist points out, the quality of the translations often leaves much to be desired: “Many have managed to ruin even Nobel prizewinning works…” My publisher, Arlinda Dudaj (a key figure for Italian publishers, from Mondadori to Feltrinelli) informs me that the effects of the publishing crisis are beginning to be felt here too, in the same ways and with the same merciless figures as in Italy. It is likely that few will survive the next few years, in a country whose financial crisis seems dependent above all on the financial crisis of its two largest neighbours, Italy and Greece.Among the books I buy there, the one which grabs my attention the most is the Albanian translation of by Heinrich Böll.But the memory of all this has been suppressed, writes Alessandro Leogrande. Burgeoning, incoherent construction seems to have engulfed the city.The terrace of the Coin department store skyscraper is one of those places where – beneath the still-warm sun of late November – the new Albanian “high society” likes to sit and sip cappuccino.

Although it has been well received by the liberal press, I get the impression that a long operation to erase the events of the 1990s (and particularly the disaster of 1997) has struck the new Albania.Now, young people speak perfect English, much better than their peers across the Adriatic.(Naturally, the fact that we are incapable of establishing a true transnational dialogue, and of understanding the radical changes to our neighbouring country, is the main reason for this evaporation).The translator is Ardian Klosi, a cosmopolitan writer, journalist, refined publisher, ecologist, one of the most interesting and loudest voices in post-totalitarian Albania. Due to the profound shock that it caused among a wide circle of friends, intellectuals, contemporaries and political militants, his suicide reminded me of that of Alex Langer.I was struck by his translation of Böll, published three years ago, because one in five pages in the book is printed on a grey background. Klosi wanted to publish the new edition in this format.

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