Mud Sweeter Than Honey: Voices of Communist Albania

(Author) (Translator)
& 1 more
21,000+ Reviews has the highest-rated customer service of any bookstore in the world
Product Details
$28.00  $26.04
Restless Books
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.2 inches | 1.35 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate
About the Author

Malgorzata (Margo) Rejmer, born in 1985 in Warsaw, is an award-winning Polish novelist, reporter, and writer of short stories. Her books, which have been translated into eight languages, include the novel Toximia (2009) and two works of nonfiction: Bucharest: Dust and Blood (2013), which won the Newsweek Award for best book of 2014, the Gryfia Literary Award, and the TVP Kultura Award, and Mud Sweeter than Honey (2018), for which she was was awarded the Polityka Passport, the most prestigious prize in Poland for emerging artists, as well as the Arkady Fiedler Award. She holds the title of the Young Ambassador of the Polish Language. She lives in Warsaw and Tirana.

Zosia Krasodomska-Jones is a literary translator working from Polish. Since being selected for the National Centre for Writing's Emerging Translator Mentorship in 2018 with Antonia Lloyd-Jones, she has translated several books and collaborates regularly with online journals. Mud Sweeter than Honey is her first nonfiction translation. She holds dual British-Polish citizenship and lives in Brussels, Belgium.

Antonia Lloyd-Jones is a prize-winning literary translator, working from Polish to English.


Praise for Mud Sweeter than Honey:

Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction of 2021

2021 Foreword INDIES Finalist - History

Winner of the Polityka Passport Award

Winner of the Kościelski Award

Shortlisted for the Nike Prize

"Like Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich, whose oral histories have documented political oppression, Rejmer allows the voices of everyday Albanians--writers and artists, teachers and farm workers, educated or barely schooled--to reveal the privations and fear under which they lived.... A gripping book of starkly revealing testimony."

--Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review, Best Nonfiction of 2021

"[An] incredibly moving collection of oral histories.... Important enough to be added to the history curriculum."

--Tim Stanley, The Telegraph, five-star review

"It is a pioneering, necessary book of such uncompromising clarity that even readers familiar with the broad outlines of Albania's recent past are likely to find its contents shocking. Statistics can give a glimpse of the story ... but Rejmer's first-person accounts add degrees of searing detail that such figures cannot convey..... Perhaps Rejmer's most original contribution is her assessment of the psychological impact of Albanian communism.... Margo Rejmer's successful marshalling of multiple voices in Mud Sweeter Than Honey demonstrates one method of digging more deeply."

--Roderick Bailey, Literary Review

"Mud Sweeter than Honey by Polish journalist and fiction writer Margo Rejmer is a bone-chilling portrait of life under Europe's most despotic post-World War II dictator, a story of decades of state-directed terror that most Americans are unfamiliar with and from which much of modern Europe turned away. She descends from the literary lineage of Nobel laureates Herta Müller and Svetlana Alexievich. Like Alexievich, she recounts the story of a place and time by animating native voices, but she also reports stories from outside her homeland.... After a few short chapters in her own voice, Rejmer transitions to the stories of Hoxha's survivors told in their voices, the voices that were silenced under Hoxha's reign of terror, with the author serving as their linguistic alchemist. This storytelling collaboration requires confidence and trust, an artistic antidote to the repression and paranoia essential to Hoxha's rule. The result is as close to a literary redressing of trauma as a single book can offer."

--Nina Herzog, Los Angeles Review of Books

"Margo Rejmer [has earned] widespread praise for both her meticulous reportage and her discerningly detailed narratives.... The worlds depicted are all at once worn with secrecy, curious with hope, and bold with the human instinct for survival.... [Rejmer] lets the lived experience of Albanians speak for themselves, until the whole spectrum comes into view; from victims to survivors, heroes to collaborators, Rejmer puts to the page their pain and doubts, their own attempts at dealing with the different roles reality forced them into, their bitterness at the lack of justice in today's Albania.... Indeed, the voices, rendered in English by a seamless translation, stay with the reader long after the book's final pages."

--Filip Noubel, Asymptote

"Margo Rejmer, the Polish writer who assembled this extraordinary book, offers a 'polyphonic' account of the victims of Albanian communism in the style of Svetlana Alexievich's Chernobyl Prayer.... As the journalist Tony Barber notes in his introduction, it serves as an 'essential reminder' of dark days in the Balkans."

--Ian Thomson, The Spectator

"Mud Sweeter Than Honey transports the reader to a very specific place and time: Albania in the second half of the 20th century. Margo Rejmer's book - translated by Zosia Krasodomska-Jones and Antonia Lloyd-Jones -- chronicles life in Albania under the decades-long rule of Enver Hoxha. It's a striking dispatch of one nation's lived experiences."

--Tobias Carroll, InsideHook, "The 10 Books You Should Be Reading This November"

"Mud Sweeter Than Honey is a moving evocation of the 'everyday terror' systematically perpetrated over 41 years of Albanian communism. The author, a Polish journalist and writer, brings together survivors' accounts of life under Albania's ruthless dictator, Enver Hoxha. Despite the inevitable bleakness, the author's skillful interviewing allows those recounting their experiences to engage us in their absorbing narratives. An illuminating if harrowing insight into life in a totalitarian state."

--Clarissa de Waal, author of Albania: Portrait of a Country in Transition

"Rejmer's is a fine collection and one that ... picks up on a theme of disappointment in the wake of communism's collapse."

--Tim Judah, Financial Times

"One finds a jaw dropping world within.... An unforgettable account of life in a prison state."

--Strong Words Magazine, Best Books of 2021

"Mud Sweeter than Honey serves as an essential reminder that to move on from a painful national past should never mean to forget it or brush it aside.... The powerful, often chilling stories in Mud Sweeter than Honey attest to the truth that even a regime as atrocious as Hoxha's cannot triumph in the long run over the irrepressible human yearning for freedom and dignity."

--From the Introduction by Tony Barber