cover image The Ghost Rider

The Ghost Rider

Ismail Kadare, trans. from the French by Jon Rothschild. Canongate (IPG, dist.), $13.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-84767-341-1

Man Booker International Prize%E2%80%93winner Kadare (Broken April) takes an ancient Albanian tale, "The Ballad of Constantine and Doruntine," as the starting point for this compelling if enigmatic novel set in medieval Albania. The deaths of the nine Vranaj brothers, all soldiers, many felled by a plague carried by their battlefield adversaries, have devastated a small Albanian community. Their mother's loss is only compounded by the absence at the time of her daughter, Doruntine, who was married three years earlier and moved far away from home. When Doruntine suddenly appears at her mother's door, claiming that one of her brothers, Kostandin, was her traveling companion, the news that Kostandin has been dead for years sends both mother and daughter to their deathbeds, leaving the local police captain to try to explain the inexplicable. Kadare excels at depicting the ever-expanding repercussions of what could have been a tragedy limited just to the Vranaj family. (June)