Rudi Erebara /The Epic of the Morning Stars /SD in Europe-5

Strange Days Books proudly present the fifth book of the series ‘’Strange Days in Europe’’, co-funded by Creative Europe’s translation project of the European Union. The novel Epika e yjeve të mëngjesit (The Epic of the Morning Stars) is a testimony to the destiny of Suleyman, an Albanian painter employed at the state decoration company in the capital of Albania. A technical issue occurring on 16 October 1978, the birthday of Albania’s dictator Enver Hoxha, is attributed to him by the State Security Services. Around this time, Albania is about to sever its relations with Mao’s communist China. Also on 16 October 1978, Józef Wojtyła, a priest from communist Poland, becomes Pope John Paul II in the Vatican. In the late evening of 16 October, a heavy shower washes away the letters of the slogans written by the state decoration company in deep red, the symbol of the blood spilled during the war for freedom by the communist fighters. Even though the festivities are over, the state security, under the direct orders of the communist dictator, starts the hunt for the perpetrators, even though no perpetrators could possibly exist. Suleyman is a man singled out as standing on the other side of the trench of class warfare, conceived and fanatically carried out by the ruling communists. As he feels he is being singled out as a victim, Suleyman tries to change his name to Edmond. He also makes a painting showing some partisans around a fire. This is viewed as a good enough reason for Suleyman to be punished.

«Epika e yjeve të mëngjesit» – The Epic of  the Morning Stars tells the story of Suleyman, an Albanian painter unjustly blamed for a technical issue occurring on the birthday of Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha, at a time when the country prepares to face big changes. It is a bittersweet satirical chronicle of a cruel period for Albania. It is a Kafkaesque narration situated in a Balkan scenery of Theatre of the Absurd.

This is a novel about the immorality of the dictatorship and the caste of people who imposed it An untold tragedy happened in a very small country, with a small  population, from Albanians against Albanians. It did not happen for religious reasons, nor for nationalistic, nor even for significant political reasons. It was just an army against civilians. An army that from the first day of the establishment of this tyranny, considered the country as a prize, as prey of war. The citizens were forced to choose a line up and it was  «either with us or against us». (…)  A new reality was created in the country, from which you could not escape, and if you tried, death awaited for you. People became slaves of the Labor Party, slaves in the service of the occupying army. Art was the only escape. The dream on the canvas…»   Rudi Erebara      

Rudi Erebara was born in 1971. He is a poet, novelist and translator. After graduating in 1995 at the Academy of Fine Arts, he embarked on a career as a political analyst, a journalist in several national newspapers and as an editor in chief. He is a poet, novelist and translator. He won several poetry prizes and was named translator of the year three times for his translations of «Brave New World» by Aldous Huxley and other classics. He is the author of two books of poetry, «Fillon Pamja» (There Begins the View), and «Lëng argjendi» (Silver Juice) as well as two novels, «Vezët e thëllëzave» (Eggs of the Quails) and «Epika e yjeve të mëngjesit» (The Epic of the Morning Stars). The book was honoured with the European Union Prize for Literature in 2017.

Elson Zgouri was born in Belsh, Albania. At a young age he emigrated with his family to Greece where they settled in a small village in the plain of Giannitsa. He loved the Greek language and started writing at a very young age. He studied Informatics and Energy in Kavala, Ghent and Berlin. Two of his short stories (using  a pseudonym) were published in 2019 by Strange Days. For the collection of short stories «Stories of Spring» the short story entitled «March» and for the collection of short stories «Round midnight» the short story entitled «the chair». He speaks Albanian, Greek, English and German and in addition to writing he also deals with translations of literary and scientific texts. His first book, a collection of stories entitled «All cats are beautiful» released in Greek in November 2020





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