His only companion is a taciturn priest, who may have had an affair with the widow of the highest ranking missing soldier. And he meets a German lieutenant-general, accompanied by a mayor, performing the same duty for their dead. He spends his time surrounded by mountains and villages, rain and fog and cold, and the sullen resentment of the Albanians. He uncovers stories from the war itself, including the diary of an Italian deserter and a cafe-owner's description of a town having a military brothel stationed in it. And he experiences the death of a local workman and a dramatic encounter with an old woman during a visit to a local wedding feast.
All of this contributes to his growing disillusionment with his task and his steady psychological disintegration, which are revealed to us through his actions and conversations. On his departure from Albania everything he has done and experienced seems to amount no nothing, with the outside world unchanged.
Published in 1963, The General of the Dead Army was the first of Kadare's novels to attract international attention. It would make a good starting point for newcomers to his work.