The Rider on the White Horse

Compositionally speaking, if a structural principle can be inferred from the eight stories that make up The Rider on the White Horse -- a selection of writings by the German author Theodor Storm (1817–88) -- it might well be this: Make it Old. Storm was an adept of the Novelle genre, in which the focus of a story inclined toward inspecting the ramifications of an event, whether it be an aborted love affair or, as in the case of the titular story, one man's effort to oversee a village dam. In practice, the stories in this collection -- with the exception of "A Green Leaf" and "Veronika" -- build less toward epiphanous moments than toward moments of refracted quietude where a sigh is more likely to be educed from the reader than an exclamation. Resignation is the dominant note tolled throughout these stories, which are often steeped in the passage of time; as such, observations like these burgeon: "er childhood existed in a place far beyond the birth of all the others"; "It was an old volume?its leaves were yellow and coarse"; "We had hearts as true as yours?how can you young people know how it was then?" For those who find themselves at odds with our youth-obsessed zeitgeist, there is succor to be found in these rebelliously old-fashioned stories, which contain beautiful high points such as this, which comes from "Immensee": "The moon no longer shown through the window; the full darkness had come; but the old man still sat, hands folded, in his easy chair, and gazed into the desolation of the room? Then he pushed his chair up to the table, opened a book, and buried himself in those studies to which he had once given all the best powers of his young manhood."

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."