Read The World — King Stakh’s Wild Hunt — Uladzimir Karatkevich (Belarus)
Blurb from goodreads.com, please scroll down for my review.
King Stakh’s Wild Hunt tells the tale of Andrey Belaretsky, a young folklorist who finds himself stranded by a storm in the castle of Marsh Firs, the seat of the fading aristocratic Yanovsky family. Offered refuge by Nadzeya, the last in the Yanovskys’ line, he learns of the family curse and terrible apparitions that portend her early death and trap her in permanent, maddening fear.
As Belaretsky begins to unravel the secrets of the Yanovskys, he himself becomes quarry of the Wild Hunt, silent phantoms who stalk the marshes on horseback and deliver death to all who cross their path. He must uncover the truth behind the ghostly hunt to release Nadzeya from her fate and undo the curse that hangs over the marshes.
A jewel of Belarusian classic literature, King Stakh’s Wild Hunt is one of Karatkevich’s most critically acclaimed works that also inspired a 1979 film adaptation. Based on an ancient European legend, this suspense masterpiece taps into the imagery of the country’s rich cultural heritage to offer both a haunting piece of gothic intrigue as well as a profound meditation on the destiny of the Belarusian people.
Quote “The nights turned considerably colder, and now the swamps were ‘ sweating’ , giving birth to a mobile white fog in the hollows”
This book taught me a little about folklore in Belarus
A gloomy castle, where most of the plot takes place, pine forest, wolves with fiery eyes, swamps, cold, rain, some supernatural ghosts, who are named with very little imagination, the Little Man and the Lady-in-Blue, what more can a mystery need, how about a lost folklorist, Andrey Belaretsky and a damsel in distress, sounds like a great book? and it actually is.
Written in 1964 about an era at the end of the 1800’s it is well written and makes you feel like it was written in the era it covers, it feels dark and gothic full of suspense, but it is not a horror book, written in the first person, from the point of view of Andrey Belaretsky, the ethnographer who is telling his memories to the author of this book at the age of 96.
It starts off slow with a bleak, dull and depressing setting and you can really feel this as you read, but later on, there is plenty of mystery, adventure and greed. It is a dark book, but very enjoyable, with an action packed ending, with some violence and death, and the ending sums up nicely and explains everything about this mystery.
With some difficult to pronounce names, with a fair amount of characters, who I sometimes confused one with another, this is now a classic of Belarussion literature.
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I am giving this book 4 stars, the next country we are visiting is my read a book from each country is the Czech Republic. See you in the next country.