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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful little tale from Kadare
First, I think it might be helpful to know that this is the first novel I've read by Isamail Kadare. It will certainly not be the last.

The Ghost Rider was originally published in Albania in 1980. Subsequently translated to French in 1986, with an English translation following in 1988 (Doruntine - I think it's this one) it has been revised by the author for a...
Published on 28 July 2010 by R. Palmer

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition very annoying
I bought this on kindle, tried to read it on iPad and iPod. There are very annoying changes in font size throughout. I've not seen the print text, and I imagine these changes correspond to something in the original, but they're very wearying. I gave up reading it.
Published 11 months ago by lonpobty


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful little tale from Kadare, 28 July 2010
This review is from: The Ghost Rider (Paperback)
First, I think it might be helpful to know that this is the first novel I've read by Isamail Kadare. It will certainly not be the last.

The Ghost Rider was originally published in Albania in 1980. Subsequently translated to French in 1986, with an English translation following in 1988 (Doruntine - I think it's this one) it has been revised by the author for a new publication by Canongate in 2010.

This edition has a handy introduction from David Bellos which fills the reader in with detail which helps understand the context of the novel in all relevant contexts (the regime that Kadare was working under, the historical setting of the novel and the evolution of the story itself).

As noted, the author has made some revisions to the text; having not read the original translation, I can't confirm or deny this, but according to the introduction, they mainly relate to expanding some sections, mainly those which deal with religious practice and the question of acceding to authority. Neither of these would've been particularly popular under Hoxha's Stalinist regime.

The story itself is based upon an old Albanian tale (known as "The Ballad of Constantine and Doruntine"). The simplest telling of the tale is that of a brother, dead, who rises from the grave and goes to fetch his sister to see their mother.

Kadare, in this telling of the tale, turns it into a medieval police procedural set against the background of the wars which beset Albania in this period. At its heart is the ghost story already described. In this case, Konstandin, killed in the war (as were his 8 other brothers, through battle and the disease that followed) had made the promise to his mother that he would fetch his sister, Doruntine from her new home in Bohemia should there be any joyous or tragic event in their family life. Doruntine arrives at her mother's door having been carried across the miles by a mysterious horse-rider whom she claims is her (we learn) 3 year dead brother. This creates a chain of events and raises many questions which give rise to the police procedural aspect of the novel. I won't spoil them for any prospective readers, suffice to say that Kadare does create a subtle and layered novel in such a short space (yes, this is over 200 pages, but it's quite large type and The Ghost Rider itself finishes at page 164 and is followed by a couple of chapters of introduction to The Siege).

The novel asks many questions, about nationhood, authority and justice. More importantly though it is excellent writing. Kadare also wrote poetry (and I realise that not all poets necessarily make great novelists) and I think that this shows in this text. I think the folk/historical setting helps too - had he made this a contemporary tale (aside from the fact that he would *really* have struggled to get it published) I'm not so sure that he'd have created something quite so long-lasting and universal.

Excellent stuff. I intend to read more - recommended.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition very annoying, 22 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Ghost Rider (Paperback)
I bought this on kindle, tried to read it on iPad and iPod. There are very annoying changes in font size throughout. I've not seen the print text, and I imagine these changes correspond to something in the original, but they're very wearying. I gave up reading it.
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The Ghost Rider
The Ghost Rider by Ismail Kadare (Paperback - 20 May 2010)
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