In January 1938, Josef Erdman arrives in Maribor, Slovenia, as the specter of World War II looms in Drago Jancar's Northern Lights (trans. by Michael Biggins). A kind of drifter, Josef befriends some of the townspeople and has an affair with the beautiful and mysterious Margerita, the wife of one of his new friends. His presence begins to draw unfavorable attention he is accused of consorting with Communists as animosity rises between Germans and the locals. Jancar, one of Slovenia's foremost writers, skillfully infuses even the most mundane events with foreboding, dread and paranoia. ( May 1) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.