Ismail Kadare: The Palace of Dreams

AUGUST 17, 2021

There are books, and then there are literary giants. The thing about the latter is that they do not announce their importance, their work speaks for them and you simply know you are in the presence of one. 

This does not fall in the beautiful category. This one takes its place alongside Orwell’s 𝟭𝟵𝟴𝟰 and Bradbury’s 𝘍𝘢𝘩𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘵 𝟰𝟱𝟭.

Someone told me in jest that maybe I should take a break from my reading repertoire because what is happening in certain parts of the world of late uncannily intersects with it. Veering westward only found a disquieting relevance in this Ismail Kadare dystopian masterpiece.

𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘗𝘢𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘋𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘮𝘴 is not what the title might immediately imply, but at the same time, it is exactly what the name implies: “The task of our Palace of Dreams, which was created directly by the reigning Sultan, is to classify and examine not the isolated dreams of certain individuals… but the ‘Tabir’ as a whole: in other words, all the dreams of all citizens without exception…

…the Padishah decreed that no dream, not even one dreamed in the remotest part of the empire on the most ordinary day by the most godforsaken creature, must fail to be examined by the Tabir Sarrail.”

Beware the authorities and the institutions that take away even the freedom of your dreams. They exist in the real world. 

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