On the autobahn in Vienna a taxi leaves the carriageway and strikes the crash barrier, flinging its male and female passengers out of its back doors as it spins through the air. The driver cannot explain why he lost control; he only says that the mysterious couple in the back seat seemed to be about to kiss . . . Set against the tumultuous backdrop of war and its aftermath in the Balkans, The Accident intimately documents an affair between two people caught in each other's webs. The investigation into their deaths uncovers a mutually destructive obsession that mirrors the conflicts of the region. A destabilising mixture of vivid hallucination and cold reality, Ismail Kadare's new novel is a bold and fascinating departure.

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