The pharaoh Cheops decides to defy tradition and not to
build a pyramid, but his advisers talk him around, explaining that pyramids
were introduced in order to prevent prosperity, because prosperity, by making
people more independent and freer in their minds, also made them more resistant
to authority in general and to the power of the Pharaoh in particular. And so
the word goes out to the quarries and the workers labor and die, in accidents
or under the whip ? and the rumours fly, speculation is rife, and the secret
police have plenty to do.
When news broke that the pyramid was finished, the
inhabitants of the capital, who were the first to hear it, were dumbfounded. A
fair number cupped their hands to their ears.
You said the investigation was finished?
No, not the investigation, old chap, the pyramid!
Oh, that pyramids...
The dirt of quite a different kind of construction was still
on their backs; their ears were still full of the echoes of relentless
interrogations: You maintain that you never were on row eighty-one? That you
said nothing to the hauliers of stone number fifteen hundred and two? But why
don''t you confess? We know it all anyway! As a result, for a long while few
people had cared very much about what was going on the ground at Giza.
The Pyramid is not a historical novel ? it makes no attempt to
describe ancient Egypt ? but
rather an extended, multi-faceted parable of life in Albania under the communist
dictatorship, with its grandiose plans and its paranoia, uncertainty, and
arbitrariness. There is no plot as such and the characters are only pop-ups ?
the Sumerian ambassador baking tablets instead of carving stone, the scholar
A.K. denouncing the degenerate linguist Jaqub Har, a group of working class
tomb-robbers, and so forth. But Kadare keeps us turning the pages with his
inventive humour, mixing subtle mockery, sardonic wit, and light-hearted
slapstick. His is a unique but entrancing approach to political comedy.