Olga Tokarczuk

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The Books of Jacob english translation will be published soon.
After reading it i can say her Noble prize ia rightfully deserved.

It belongs to the very small club of everlasting modern literature masterpieces imo.(Knausgard, Bolano..). A must read.

Anyone read anything else by her?

nostormo, Monday, 27 September 2021 20:26 (one year ago) link

Yes! Primeval and Other Times, a sort of Polish 100 Years of Solitude; Flights, a book of anecdotes and digressions and fragments, and Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead, an idiosyncratic environmental murder mystery with an eccentric protagonist - in case that sounds like something by Richard Osman, it isn't. All good to excellent, and based on those three she's clearly one of those writers who hates to write the same book twice. Flights is the most intriguing and the one I'd like to read again, will definitely be getting The Books of Jacob and looking out for translations of her other works.

ledge, Tuesday, 28 September 2021 07:38 (one year ago) link

I'm trying to decide whether to read Drive your plow or Primeval next..

nostormo, Tuesday, 28 September 2021 18:10 (one year ago) link

Which would you read if it was your first?

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 28 September 2021 22:23 (one year ago) link

Depends what you're after: of the three I've read Drive Your Plow is the most conventional - not a criticism, there's more than enough in it to elevate it above a typical thriller; if you're a fan of Sebald then Flights might be more appealing.

ledge, Wednesday, 29 September 2021 07:49 (one year ago) link

six months pass...

I wasn't hugely looking forward to The Books of Jacob - a 1000 page doorstop about a real life heretical messianic Jewish sect in 18th century Poland didn't really sound like my idea of a good time. And it's a little bit daunting at first: it starts in media res without any context or explanation; characters pile in without introduction; 18th century placenames, Polish names and Hebrew and Turkish words are scattered throughout (I was confused when they talked about crossing the river from Poland to Turkey until I realised the latter is what we call the Ottoman Empire). But slowly things come together and start to make sense - I did consult wikipedia once or twice but only for background detail, and though it's vast and sprawling, and many of the secondary characters remained obscure to me (if I ever reread it I will do so with the aid of a 'murder wall', names stuck up and linked with red thread), nevertheless it's not a particularly tough read, and an extraordinary tale of desperate people believing extraordinary things in the face of all the evidence.

ledge, Monday, 25 April 2022 09:55 (five months ago) link


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