The Ghost Rider [NOOK Book]

Overview

"Ismail Kadare is one of Europe's most consistently interesting and powerful contemporary novelists, a writer whose stark, memorable prose imprints itself on the reader's consciousness." --Los Angeles Times
 
An old woman is awoken in the dead of night by knocks at her front door. The woman opens it to find her daughter, Doruntine, standing there alone in the darkness. She has been brought home from a distant land by a mysterious rider she...
See more details below
The Ghost Rider

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - IN)
$10.99
BN.com price
(Save 17%)$13.29 List Price

Overview

"Ismail Kadare is one of Europe's most consistently interesting and powerful contemporary novelists, a writer whose stark, memorable prose imprints itself on the reader's consciousness." --Los Angeles Times
 
An old woman is awoken in the dead of night by knocks at her front door. The woman opens it to find her daughter, Doruntine, standing there alone in the darkness. She has been brought home from a distant land by a mysterious rider she claims is her brother Konstandin. But unbeknownst to her, Konstandin has been dead for years. What follows is chain of events which plunges a medieval village into fear and mistrust. Who is the ghost rider?


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Man Booker International Prize–winner 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)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847679093
  • Publisher: Canongate Books
  • Publication date: 5/20/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: IN
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 399
  • Sales rank: 1,335,094
  • File size: 257 KB

Meet the Author

Ismail Kadare is Albania's best-known poet and novelist, and translations of his novels have appeared in more than 40 countries. In 2005 he was awarded the inaugural Man Booker International Prize for "a body of work written by an author who has had a truly global impact," and he has been a Nobel Prize in Literature candidate several times. His books include Broken April, Chronicle in StoneThe Siege, and The Successor, which was listed as a New York Times Notable Book. David Bellos, the director of the program in Translation at Princeton University, is also the translator of Georges Perec’s Life A User’s Manual and a winner of the Goncourt Prize for biography. He has translated seven of Ismail Kadare's novels, and in 2005 was awarded the Translator's Prize awarded as part of the Man Booker International Prize for his translations of Kadare's work.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Stres was still in bed when he heard the knocking at the door. He was tempted to bury his head in the pillow to blot out the noise, but the sound came again, louder this time.
 
“Who the Devil would pound on my door before daybreak?” he grumbled, throwing off the blanket.
 
He was on his way down the stairs when he heard the hammering for the third time, but now the rhythm of the metal knocker told him who it was. He slid back the bolt and opened the door. There was no need to say, “And what possesses you to wake me before dawn?” for the look on his face and his bleary eyes conveyed the message well enough.
 
“Something’s happened,” his deputy hastened to say. Stres stared at him sceptically, as if to say, “It better be good to justify a visit at this ungodly hour.” But he was well aware that his aide rarely blundered. Indeed, whenever he had been moved to rebuke him, he had found himself compelled to hold his tongue. Still, he would have been delighted had his deputy been in the wrong this time, so that he could work off his ill humour on him.
 
“So?”
 
The deputy glanced at his chief’s eyes for an instant, then stepped back and spoke.
 
“The dowager Vranaj and her daughter, Doruntine, who arrived last night under very mysterious circumstances, both lie dying.”
 
“Doruntine?” said Stres, dumbfounded. “How can it be?”
 
His deputy heaved a sigh of relief: he had been right to pound on the door.
 
“How can it be?” Stres said again, rubbing his eyes as if to wipe away the last trace of sleep. And in fact he had slept badly. No first night home after a two-week mission had ever been so trying. One long nightmare.
 
“How can it be?” he asked for the third time. Doruntine had married into a family that lived so far from her own that she hadn’t been able to come back even when they were in mourning.
 
“How, indeed,” said the deputy. “As I said, the circumstances of her return are most mysterious.”
 
“And?”
 
“Well, both mother and daughter have taken to their beds and lie dying.”
 
“Strange! Do you think there’s been foul play?” The deputy shook his head. “I think not. It looks more like the effect of some dreadful shock.”
 
“Have you seen them?”
 
“Yes. They’re both delirious, or close to it. The mother keeps asking, ‘Who brought you back, daughter?’ And the daughter keeps saying, ‘My brother Kostandin.’”
 
“Is that what she says: Kostandin? But, good God, he died three years ago, he and all his brothers ...”
 
“According to the local women now gathered at their bedsides, that is just what the mother told her. But the girl insists that she arrived with him last night, just after midnight.”
 
“How odd,” said Stres, all the while thinking how ghastly.
 
They stared at each other in silence until Stres, shivering, remembered that he was not dressed. “Wait for me,” he said, and went back in.
 
From inside came his wife’s drowsy “What is it?” and the inaudible words of his reply. Soon he came out again, wearing the regional captain’s uniform that made him look even taller and thinner.
 
“Let’s go see them,” he said.
 
They set out in silence. A handful of white rose petals fallen at someone’s door reminded Stres somehow of a brief scene from the dream that had slipped so strangely into his fitful sleep.
 
“Quite extraordinary,” he said.
 
“It beggars belief,” replied his deputy, raising the stakes.
 
“To tell you the truth, I was tempted not to believe it at first.”
 
“So I noticed. It’s unbelievable, isn’t it. Very mysterious.”
 
“Worse than that,” Stres said. “The more I think about it, the more inconceivable it seems.”
 
 “The main thing is to find out how Doruntine got back,” said the deputy.
 
“And then?”
 
“The case will be solved if we can find out who accompanied her, or rather, if we can uncover the circumstances of her arrival.”
 
“Who accompanied her,” Stres repeated. “Yes, who and how . . . Obviously she is not telling the truth.”
 
“I asked her three times how she got here, but she offered no explanation. She was hiding something.”
 
“Did she know that all her brothers, including Kostandin, were dead?” Stres asked.
 
“I don’t know. I don’t think so.”
 
“It’s possible she didn’t know,” Stres said. “She married so far away . . .” To his surprise his jaw suddenly felt as heavy as lead, making it difficult for him to speak. What’s wrong with me? he wondered. He could feel a heaviness in his lungs too, as if they had filled with coal dust.
 
He pressed forward, and the exercise helped to clear his dulled mind.
 
“What was I saying? Oh, yes . . . She married so far abroad that she’s not been able to return home since her wedding. As far as I know this is the first time she’s been back.”
 
“She can’t have known about the death of her nine brothers or she would have come then,” said the deputy.
 
“The dowager complained often enough about her daughter not being at her side during those grief-stricken days.”
 
“The forests of Bohemia where she lives lie at least two weeks’ journey from here, if not more,” Stres observed.
 
“Yes, if not more,” repeated his deputy. “Almost at the heart of Europe.”
 
As they walked, Stres noticed more white rose petals strewn along the path, as if some invisible hand had scattered them during the night. Fleetingly he recalled seeing them somewhere before. But he couldn’t really remember his dream. He also had a faint pain in his forehead. At the exact spot where his dream must have entered last night, he thought, before exiting the same way later on, towards dawn perhaps, irritating the wound it had already made.
 
“In any event, someone must have come with her,” he said.
 
“Yes, but who? Her mother can’t possibly believe that her daughter returned with a dead man, any more than we can.”
 
“But why would she conceal who she came back with?”
 
“I can’t explain it. It’s very unclear.”
 
Once again they walked in silence. The autumn air was cold. Some cawing crows flew low. Stres watched their flight for a moment.
 
“It’s going to rain,” he said. “The crows caw like that because their ears hurt when a storm is coming.”
 
His deputy looked off in the same direction, but said nothing.
 
“Earlier you mentioned something about a shock that might have brought the two women to their deathbed,” Stres said.
 
 “Well, it was certainly caused by some very powerful emotion.” He avoided the word terrible, for his chief had commented that he tended to overuse it. “Since neither woman shows any mark of violence, their sudden collapse must surely have been caused by some kind of shock.”
 
“Do you think the mother suddenly discovered something terrible?” Stres asked.
 
His deputy stared at him. He can use words as he pleases, he thought in a flash, but if others do, he stuffs them back down their throats.
 
“The mother?” he said. “I suspect they both suddenly discovered something terrible, as you put it. At the same time.”
 
As they continued to speculate about the shock mother and daughter had presumably inflicted on one another (both Stres and his deputy, warped by professional habit, increasingly tended to turns of phrase better suited to an investigative report), they mentally reconstructed, more or less, the scene that must have unfolded in the middle of the night. Knocks had sounded at the door of the old house at an unusual hour, and when the old lady called out – as she must have done – “Who’s there?” – a voice from outside would have answered, “It’s me, Doruntine.” Before opening the door, the old woman, upset by the sudden knocking and convinced that it couldn’t be her daughter’s voice, must have asked, to ease her doubt, “Who brought you back?” Let us not forget that for three years she had been desperate for some consolation in her grief, waiting in vain for her daughter to come home. From outside, Doruntine answered, “My brother Kostandin brought me back.” And the old woman receives the first shock. Perhaps, even shaken as she was, she found the strength to reply, “What are you talking about? Kostandin and his brothers have been in their graves for three years.”
 
Now it is Doruntine’s turn to be stricken. If she really believes that it was her brother Kostandin who had brought her back, then the shock is twofold: finding out that Kostandin and her other brothers were dead and realising at the same time that she had been travelling with a ghost. The old woman then summons up the strength to open the door, hoping against hope that she has misunderstood the young woman’s words, or that she has been hearing voices, or that it is not Doruntine at the door after all. Perhaps Doruntine, standing there outside, also hopes she has misunderstood. But when the door swings open, both repeat what they have just said, dealing each other a fatal blow.
 
“No,” said Stres. “None of that makes much sense either.”
 
“I agree with you,” said his deputy. “But one thing is certain: something must have happened between them for the two women to be in such a state.”
 
“Something happened between them,” Stres repeated.
 
“Of course something happened, but what? A terrifying tale from the girl, a terrifying revelation for the mother. Or else . . .”
 
“There’s the house,” said the deputy. “Maybe we can find out something.”
 
The great building could be seen in the distance, standing all forlorn on the far side of an open plain. The wet ground was strewn with dead leaves all the way to the house, which had once been one of the grandest and most imposing of the principality, but now had an air of mourning and desertion. Most of the shutters on the upper floors were closed, the eaves were damaged in places, and the grounds before the entrance, with their ancient, drooping, mossy trees, seemed desolate.
 
Stres recalled the burial of the nine Vranaj brothers three years earlier. There had been one tragedy after another, each more painful than the last, to the point that only by going mad could one erase the memory. But no generation could recall a calamity on this scale: nine coffins for nine young men of a single household in a single week. It had happened five weeks after the grand wedding of the family’s only daughter, Doruntine. The principality had been attacked without warning by a Norman army and, unlike in previous campaigns, where each household had had to give up one of their sons, this time all eligible young men were conscripted. So all nine brothers had gone off to war. It had often happened that several brothers of a single household went to fight in far more bloody conflicts, but never had more than half of them fallen in combat. This time, however, there was something very special about the enemy army: it was afflicted with plague, and most of those who took part in the fighting died one way or another, victors and vanquished alike, some in combat, others after the battle.
 
Many a household had two, three, even four deaths to mourn, but only the Vranaj mourned nine. No one could recall a more impressive funeral. All the counts and barons of the principality attended, even the prince himself, and dignitaries of neighbouring principalities came as well. Stres remembered it all quite clearly, most of all the words on everyone’s lips at the time: how the mother, in those days of grief, did not have her only daughter, Doruntine, at her side. But Doruntine alone had not been told about the disaster.
 
Stres sighed. How quickly those three years had passed! The great double doors, worm-eaten in places, stood ajar. Walking ahead of his deputy, he crossed the courtyard and entered the house, where he could hear the faint sound of voices. Two or three elderly women, apparently neighbours, looked the newcomers up and down.
 
“Where are they?” Stres asked.
 
One of the women nodded towards a door. Stres, followed by his deputy, walked into a vast, dimly lit room where his eyes were immediately drawn to two large beds set in opposite corners. Beside each of these stood a woman, staring straight ahead. The icons on the walls and the two great brass candelabra above the fireplace, long unused, cast flickers of light through the atmosphere of gloom. One of the women turned her head towards them. Stres stopped for a moment, then motioned her to approach.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 20, 2013

    I just get chills from reading the title and summary. This a sto

    I just get chills from reading the title and summary. This a story that has come forward from generation to generation. To this day, if I recall  Doruntina, I turn my  head hoping to get a glimpse at  Kostandin. If you enjoy a good mystery and an absolute unforgatable story this is it..

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)