Spiritus written by Ismail Kadare at first begins as a story which I thought would be quite boring, about spirits, spiritism and more. As I read through the book and the characters developed I became more and more interested by the story. It's a cyclical novel beginning with a team of researchers looking to find out who was Shpend Giraziu and how people were contacting him.
By progressing through the book I soon found that in fact it's a novel about the methods by which spying was done in Albania with "Frelon" and "Prince". These two objects are recording devices which were used as ears for the soviet reginme of the time. It goes into some detail about the methods by which the classical spies who use their ears took time to perfect methods of listening in to other people's conversations. Some went death from working around planes and such whilst others simply listened during theatre peices and more.
The Frelon which is one of the most interesting of the listening devices was sown into people's clothing to provide ears for the intelligence services. These ears would make people more careful of speaking around clothing and more. Some time is taken to explore where they can plant the listening devices and why it would be interesting to use listening devices in places such as theatre shows and more.
The idea that the service could listen may not sound like much to us today as we are used to all these various technologies which surround us. At the time though one of the main protagonists has a hard time. This hard time becomes especially apparent when because Shpend Guraziu was killed by a bulldozer and he was buried without the device being removed the body had to be exhumed. In exhuming the body a question of ethics is explored, seeing whether this is right or not and how various people may see this. This particular occurence is what leads to the notion of Spiritus, or shpirt which means Mon Ame, or "Soul".
Through a nightmare which the main protagonist has we are exposed to the idea that he is in fact uncovering the dead and getting them to speak, as if he was the devil, having a guilty conscience.
It's an interesting read for those who have not yet heard of it and I'd recommend it as a worthwile read. I am going to coninue reading these interesting books and I hope that I have presented a new and interesting author to you the reader of this page.
Le Crépuscule des dieux de la Steppe
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