Tag Archives: Olga Tokarczuk

‘Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead’ by Olga Tokarczuk (translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones)

Just the title alone of this one is worth the price of admission! Bonus points for you if you know where the quote comes from…ok, I’ll save you the trouble of looking it up. It’s from the English poet and printmaker William Blake, a book called “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” which is a series of texts written in imitation of biblical prophecy but expressing Blake’s own intensely personal revolutionary beliefs.

Translated from Polish, Blake features prominently in this novel which is basically a weird philosophical genre defying literary whodunit. It also includes some dark feminist comedy and mini-essays on vegetarianism. It won the Nobel Prize in Literature (2018) and was shortlisted for the 2019 International Booker Prize. It’s a bit of a quirky read, probably not for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. The ending has a nice twist and is well executed (pardon the pun) but also made perfect sense upon reflection. That’s all I’m saying.

Janina Duszejko dabbles in astrology and lives in a remote area where she oversees a number of summer homes. She is wonderfully eccentric and self-sufficient but suffers from some (never quite defined) ailments that become quite serious at times. People are named according to their qualities: Bigfoot, Oddball, Dizzy, etc. As always, the Guardian has a wonderful extended review: click here.

I also loved this creative and animated review by a fan which contains no spoilers and is a lovely introduction to the book: