The Ghost Rider
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The Ghost Rider

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  404 ratings  ·  44 reviews
A classic medieval mystery from the winner of the inaugural Man Booker International Prize, a writer in the class of Atwood, Coetzee, Marquez, and Rushdie

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 myster...more
Paperback, revised, with new title, 208 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Canongate UK (first published 1979)
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Ema
The Ghost Rider was initially published in English under the title Doruntine and it is another case of translation from French, not from the original Albanian. This situation puzzles me and has turned many people off from reading Ismail Kadaré's The Palace of Dreams, which I find a really good novel (but then, I've read the Romanian translation). Is there a serious deficit of translators from Albanian into English? It seems that Kadare’s works were regularly translated into French by his long-st...more
Fahad
تنبيه: في السطور التالية كشف لأحداث الرواية.

من أعاد دورنتين؟

هذه هي قراءتي الأولى لعمل من أعمال الروائي الألباني المرشح لنوبل الآداب منذ سنوات (إسماعيل كاداريه) – أو قادريه وهو أصل الاسم إن أصابت ظنوني -.

يقال بأن الأساطير، هي ثيمة كاداريه الدائمة – وأنا هنا لا أملك إلا أن أعتمد على الأقوال، ما دامت رواياته الأخرى تنتظر في مكتبتي ولم أشرع في قراءتها بعد -، هذه الرواية لا تبدأ كالعادة بأسطورة يتم الاتكاء عليها، وإنما تقوم بفعل معاكس، أي إنتاج أسطورة، من أعاد دورونتين؟

هذا هو السؤال الألباني القلق...more
Adam
This superb short novel by Ismail Kadare was written in 1979 in Tirana, Albania. At that time, the country was ruled by its oppressive dictator Enver Hoxha. Like most of his ilk, he had no tolerance for dissent. Kadare and his fellow writers had to mind what they said and wrote to keep out of trouble. By setting his novel "Doruntine", which is to some extent about heresy, in the era before the Ottoman invasion of Albania, he was able to disguise his observations of modern Albania to such an exte...more
Asma Fedosia
Based on the legend of "The Ballad of Constantine and Doruntine", the story is a detective mystery in the Middle Ages to discover the identity of the horseman who carried Doruntine from Bohemia to her dowager mother's home in Albania. When she and her old mother die soon after she claims Konstantin, a brother dead three years, brought her through one long, starry night, an explanation is called for. Was D's saying K brought her a coverup for a romantic escapade from her marriage in a distant cou...more
Ann32
I've read the book when I was in high school because of an assignment and as I wasn't much of a fan of Kadare I thought I wouldn't like this book at all.
Well, I was wrong.

The book is based on an old legend and taken from there to become a sort of mystery/yellow story with hints of political and historical discussions. The main line is an investigation and follows the hero struggle to find the truth about the death of Doruntine while trying to keep hold of his own personal problems. The story is...more
Jim
On the surface the most obvious comparisons to The Ghost Rider would be The Name of the Rose and The Brother Cadfael Mysteries since both features a character that might be considered the precursor of today’s police detective. Unlike the Franciscan friar, William of Baskerville, or the Benedictine monk, Brother Cadfael, Ismail Kadare’s Captain Stres is, a servant of the state who strives to remain neutral on the issue of religion. The problem is he has to solve the mystery of how a dead man coul...more
Casidhe
3.5 Stars

Personally, reading Kadare proves to be more of a cultural experience as opposed to an immersive one, and in the recently translated version "The Ghost Rider", the tension between the two is much more so.

Fortunately for the novel, its primary narrative is incredibly engaging, and Kadare's choice to use the ancient fable of Doruntine and Konstandin proves its immense cultural significance, to both native Albanians and international readers alike. Another commendable part of the novel is...more
Corina Romonti
In my humble opinion there are 2 possibilities here:
1. This is a really poor translation of the book. The narrator can`t make up his mind if he`s stuck in medieval times or he`s traveled into the future, losing his identity. He seems a bit schizophrenic. The usage of the words seems a bit sloppy as well.
2. Ismail Kadare isn`t such a brilliant writer...or maybe this isn`t one of his good books.
I really hope it`s the first one.
Simona
This book did not convince me, maybe because it had a kind of spooky/ horror subject. The whole story of Kadare's novel turns around the following question: Did the deceased brother of Doruntine bring back his sister as he promised to his mother?
Mike
Wasn't a waste of time because it was short...fortunately!!

there was never any real interest in this novel for me. Perhaps a little background historical info on albania would have helped, but I doubt it!!

Anyway, it's done!!
Fatema Alammar
هذه المرة الثانية التي أقرأ فيها لـ إسماعيل كاداريه، وأعثر على ذات الخصائص التي تميّز أسلوبه في الكتابة، "ثقل" المحتوى بالأفكار- مُصاغة في قالب ذكي، شيّق، مثير، ودون التخلّي عن نسمات الشاعرية بين الحين والآخر.
Michelle
Oh boy... That was a few evenings of reading that I'll never get back. Albania folklore or Political Satire... I didn't like it. Perhaps something was lost in translation.
Claire
This tale made me want to read something else of his, so I have two other novels of this author's composition, the second I haven't described here yet! His others will follow in subsequent months, even in non-Serbo-Croatian as they must be, for I'm still pretty struggly in Russian, and I want to master that if I'm going to study any other European language. THEN maybe I'll touch other Cyrillic languages. (Some Chinese is written in Cyrillic! Especially over by the border, though Mongolia is kind...more
Cristian
La storia narrata da Kadare nel romanzo Chi ha riportato Doruntina (CHRD, originale: Kush e solli Doruntinen?, 1980), lungi dal soffermarsi sull’interessantissima vicenda della Besa, si cui tra poco parliamo, è in realtà un concentrato di allegorie e di richiami più o meno riconoscibili alla nostra contemporaneità.
Scritto, o almeno, pubblicato nel 1980, rappresenta una delle tante prove magistrali dell’autore di Argirocastro, tanto che il testo viene studiato nelle scuole superiori, non solo in...more
Rea
A retelling of an old Albanian folk tale, this was very different from what I was expecting - not to mention a far cry from what I usually read - but it was really good!

When Doruntine is returned home to her Albanian village from her new home in Bohemia, no one can figure out how she made such a long journey. She claims that her brother, Kostandin, brought her, but her brother died three full years ago. So who brought Doruntine home?

This is the question that Stres faces. As the local law enforc...more
Danny
There's this Albanian folk tale/legend/myth about a woman who marries a man very far from her village, much to the chagrin of her mother. But her brother promises he will bring the daughter back to visit whenever her mother wishes. The brother, unbeknownst to his sister, dies. Three years later a man calling himself her brother shows up in the far-off land and brings her back to her village before disappearing towards the graveyard. Her mother informs her that her brother cannot have brought her...more
Oana
A quick read (164 pages - the rest of the book was excerpts from The Siege), I found the pace of the story easy to get through. As with any translation, I wonder how much is lost as there is little complexity to the language. One thing I am not a fan of is too much repetition. This novel even had verbatim repetition of key sentences as the detective mulled over the case, which sounds reasonable of the author now but it read funny.

Plotwise, I am in awe of writers who can come up with "twists." No...more
Ashley
I read the version of this published in English as The Ghost Rider. Certainly, this is an interesting and in many regards quite engaging book. It does somewhat trouble me that it was an English translation of a French translation, not an English translation made directly from the original Albanian. Though perfectly readable, I wonder what was lost and changed between two layers of translation work.
Nesa Sivagnanam
Kadare 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 Doru...more
kasia
This is the second Kadare novel I've read and I just don't understand what all the fuss is about. Maybe the translation is to be blamed for the utter flatness of the prose, but it seems totally lifeless to me. The story is not uninteresting, but the material just isn't effectively handled.
David
This is a retelling of Constantin and Doruntine in the form of a mystery. I thought the ending was a bit of a cop out.
Allie
I read this as a part of my "around the world" challenge, where I read one book from each country in the world.

This one was from Albania, and was very interesting! It's a retelling of a classic folk tale from that region from the perspective of the policeman who has to figure out the death of two local women.

At first, I thought, what a morbid folk tale about a daughter married far off and then supposedly dead brother. The shock of the discovery kills her Mom and the sister, much to the shock o...more
Sorin Hadârcă
Not surprisingly, the author favours the poetical truth to the factual one. It has something but not the vest from Kadare.
Moira McPartlin
Based on an Albanian folktale The Ghost Rider shows what can happen to communities when fear and mistrust enter their lives through an unbelievable event. The event is the return of a girl to her mothers home and when asked how she made the ten day distance she claimed her brother, dead three years, carried her on the back of his horse.
the narrative takes the form of a medieval detective story with the dour Captain Stres taking the lead role.
As with all Ismal Kadare's novels Ghost Rider is told...more
C
By far one of the best Albanian authors I've come across. Ok, the only Albanian author I've come across, but I would not be opposed to exploring more of Ismail Kadaré's work. I would like to spend a little more time investedly reading, for I was admittedly distracted throughout this brief novel and I believe there is a lot of history incorporated/intertwined into Kadare's work I would like to pay more attention to as well.
Lara Johnson
This book was good. It was in what I can only call an old-fashioned style of writing. It is in the third person, and written in such a way that you feel very removed from all of the characters. There is no one you have a real emotional attachment to, even the character you are following. I sort of hesitate to say the "main character" because the story is really about someone else. Overall it was interesting, but not something I'd keep on my shelf to reread later.
Ian
An Albanian folk tale retold from the point of view of a detective trying to rationalize a mysterious series of murders. Every imaginable point of view gets told during the course of the detectives investigation (politics, religion, ancient law, family rights are all discussed at length). I really liked the ending, especially the decisions made by the main character.

This is my first experience with Kadare, and I fully intend to read more.
Amber
This book jumps straight into the action and I really liked that. The mystery central to the plot is interesting and I was drawn in just to find out how it resolved. I also felt like the book gave me a true view of the Albanian culture which is something I've never read about before. Even though almost every aspect of this book I found enjoyable, I don't feel like I was really illuminated or changed by it, which means 3 stars from me.
Saqib
I enjoyed it more than successor.A tightly bound story. A better book from Kadare
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Ismail Kadare was born in 1936 in Gjirokastër, in the south of Albania. His education included studies at the University of Tirana and then the Gorky Institute for World Literature in Moscow, a training school for writers and critics.

In 1960 Kadare returned to Albania after the country broke ties with the Soviet Union, and he became a journalist and published his first poems.

His first novel, The G...more
More about Ismail Kadare...
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“Who in the world has not yearned for a loved one, has never said, If only he or she could come back just once, just one more time...? Despite the fact that it can never happen, never ever. Surely this is the saddest thing about our mortal world, and its sadness will go on shrouding human life like a blanket of fog until its final extinction.” 14 likes
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