The Rider | De ruiter
Jan van Mersbergen
He leads a gang that terrorizes half of the city, that doesn’t refrain from using violence, that sees girls as interchangeable. Still the girl feels attracted to him. Why is it that she trusts this boy without batting an eye? Why does she negate the welmeant advice of her own father?
As danger becomes imminent she leaves the city to live with her grandfather. When he lost his wife, he retreated to the countryside to search for space, but peace he could not find. Nature keeps confronting him with the things he left behind: life and death are everpresent in the countryside.
With the forced stay of his granddaugther not only two generations, but also the present and the past, city and countrside as well as man and nature are confronted with each other. The only connecting factor is the old horse on the meadow. With him the grandfather can share his lot, with him the granddaugther can get over her insecurities. But the listening ear of the horse, that seems to be closing the gap between man and girl, cannot keep the harsh reality out. On the horizon the silouhete of her accursed lover appears.
Praise for Jan van Mersbergen
'This is one of those books that have a grip on you from the very first page and never let you go. And you don’t want to be released, because you quickly are fascinated by the unique narrator, with his very own tone of voice, for whom you can feel nothing but sympathy. You are with him and you stay with him – you hope with all your heart that all will end well for him. The Rider is a book that I have been reading with growing respect.’ – Herman Koch
'The power of this narrative doesn’t lie in its end point, but in the magic of all the pages on which the eyes and ears of the horse become our eyes and ears, and we can hear foxes sneaking through the meadow and feel the fear of humans when approaching the horse.’ – Friesch Dagblad
‘The Rider ends as a Dutch Western, in which the literary motive of the advancing city remains constantly present and gives depth to the suspense novel. On top of that this theme adds a contemporary dimension to the novel.’ – NRC
'It is a Western above all, with a thrilling, bullet-riddled finale, but then relocated to the Dutch countryside, where heroism is replaced by tenderness.’ – Volkskrant****