Read from May 25th to June 19th 2015
Ghosts of the Tale
I have always had a fascination for stories built on myths, legends or folkloric tales, for they tend to give another dimension to the nations subconscious that I’ve always believed populated by the latters. And I find it extremely interesting to see how these stories feed at the same time on the old and new, on the local and universal, on the real and the imaginary, how they can gain and lose specific meanings in time without losing beauty and depth.
And here it is, Ismail Kadare’s novel, The Ghost Rider, a strange tale (known apparently by all Albanian people), based on an ancestral belief – besa – a sacred promise that must be fulfilled no matter what. The narrative, whose general lines the author respects, is simple enough – a brother rises from his grave to keep the promise he made to his mother when he was alive and bring his sister back from a faraway land where she had gone to live with her husband. Simple is also, apparently, its message – the power of a word of honour that exceeds even death. Obviously there are other messages too, which speak about love and grief, about family and solitude, about estrangement and renunciation, etc.