The Polish Nobelist delivers a fabulous, ecological neo-noir whose central character Janina Duszejko emerges as a heroic, beautifully-nuanced maelstrom of compassion, fury and almost cosmic insight.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2019
With Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, Man Booker International Prize-winner Olga Tokarczuk returns with a subversive, entertaining noir novel.
In a remote Polish village, Janina Duszejko, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. She is reclusive, preferring the company of animals to people; she's unconventional, believing in the stars; and she is fond of the poetry of William Blake, from whose work the title of the book is taken. When members of a local hunting club are found murdered, Duszejko becomes involved.
By no means a conventional crime story, this existential thriller by 'one of Europe's major humanist writers' offers thought-provoking ideas on our perceptions of madness, injustice against marginalized people, animal rights, the hypocrisy of traditional religion, belief in predestination - and caused a genuine political uproar in Tokarczuk's native Poland.
Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions
Number of pages: 274
Dimensions: 197 x 114 mm
'A magnificent writer.' - Svetlana Alexievich, 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate
'Though the book functions perfectly as noir crime - moving towards a denouement that, for sleight of hand and shock, should draw admiration from the most seasoned Christie devotee - its chief preoccupation is with unanswerable questions of free will versus determinism, and with existential unease... In Antonia Lloyd-Jones's translation, the prose is by turns witty and melancholy, and never slips out of that distinctive narrative voice... That this novel caused such a stir in Poland is no surprise. There, the political compass has swung violently to the right, and the rights of women and of animals are under attack (the novel's 2017 film adaptation, Spoor, caused one journalist to remark that it was "a deeply anti-Christian film that promoted eco-terrorism"). It is an astonishing amalgam of thriller, comedy and political treatise, written by a woman who combines an extraordinary intellect with an anarchic sensibility.' - Sarah Perry, Guardian
'One among a very few signal European novelists of the past quarter-century.' - The Economist
'Aspects of dark fantasy permeate Olga Tokarczuk's grimly comic tale of death and vengeance, set in a remote forested plateau on the border between two realms, with a cast of intelligent animals, ghostly apparitions, celestial influence and humans who resemble trolls, witches, giants and goblins... Translated with virtuosic precision and wit by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Tokarczuk's prescient, provocative and furiously comic fiction seethes with a Blakean conviction of the cleansing power of rage: the vengeance of the weak when justice is denied... [An] elegantly subversive novel.' - Jane Shilling, New Statesman
'Drive Your Plow is exhilarating in a way that feels fierce and private, almost inarticulable; it's one of the most existentially refreshing novels I've read in a long time.' - Jia Tolentino, New Yorker
'Amusing, stimulating and intriguing... [Drive Your Plow] might be likened to Fargo as rewritten by Thomas Mann, or a W. G. Sebald version of The Mousetrap... Olga Tokarczuk's previous novel, Flights... was the winner of the Man Booker International Prize, for translated fiction, and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, though smaller in scale, will help confirm her position as the first Polish writer to command sustained Western attention since the end of the Cold War.' - Leo Robson, The Telegraph
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