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The Short Form

“Hagia Sophia, a Wall Painting”

Ismail Kadare

Excerpt

The architect spent days wandering all around the cathedral. Onlookers who watched him, just like the spies who kept an eye on him so as to report on his doings, alongside the Sultan's secret envoys, didn't have a clue what his meandering path meant. He did not go into the building at all. He just circled round it, as if his real concern were not Hagia Sophia, but her shadow. Spies' reports all expressed it almost identically: “He appears to be mainly concerned with the basilica's shadow.”