Flights / Olga Tokarczuk ; translated by Jennifer Croft.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      First American edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: A seventeenth-century Dutch anatomist discovers the Achilles tendon by dissecting his own amputated leg. Chopin's heart is carried back to Warsaw in secret by his adoring sister. A woman must return to her native Poland in order to poison her terminally ill high school sweetheart, and a young man slowly descends into madness when his wife and child mysteriously vanish during a vacation and just as suddenly reappear. Through these brilliantly imagined characters and stories, interwoven with haunting, playful, and revelatory meditations, Flights explores what it means to be a traveler, a wanderer, a body in motion not only through space but through time. Where are you from? Where are you coming in from? Where are you going? we call to the traveler. Enchanting, unsettling, and wholly original, Flights is a master storyteller's answer.
    • Notes:
      In English, translated from the Polish.
      Man Booker International Prize, 2018
    • Other Titles:
      Bieguni. English
    • ISBN:
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:


Booklist Reviews 2018 August #1

The narrator in renowned Polish writer Tokarczuk's novel is an enigmatic curator, nomad, and storyteller who offers up fragmented vignettes featuring transient portraits. Drifting from one locale to another, including airports, trains, and hotels, the narrator's journeys and layovers are interspersed with ruminations on intention, psychology, and science. In one tale, a husband on vacation with his wife and young son is left with unanswered questions after their sudden disappearance. Another story follows a dispirited mother after she leaves home one seemingly ordinary day and doesn't return. These existential fragments are sharply balanced by a predilection toward physicality. A renowned doctor visits a widow after her husband's sudden death, enraptured by the now-abandoned lab that pioneered a method to plastinate human tissue. Other pieces have a historical bent, such as Chopin after death or anatomist Philip Verheyen and his amputated leg. Characters are drawn to precision, the concept of specimens, and macabre anomalies. Tokarczuk's tales vary in length and are complex and layered, forming an exploration into the impermanence of existence and experience. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2018 March #2

Twice winner of Poland's top literary award and a big name in European literature, Tokarczuk presents a novel of ideas blending disparate fragments, from a woman bearing Chopin's heart back to Poland to a vacationer reading French-Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran. It's all tied together by the bieguni, or wanderers, a mysterious Slavic sect. Not for the plot-obsessed, but I can't wait.

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

LJ Reviews 2018 August #1

Winner of the 2018 Man Booker International Prize, this work from Polish author Tokarczuk (House of Day, House of Night) delivers a compounded constellation of coevolving concepts in a set of related passages, some with several installments. Among them: the disappearance of Kunicki's wife and children on a Mediterranean island, Josefine Soliman's three letters to the Emperor of Austria asking for the stuffed body of her father, and the travels of Dr. Blau, who covets the secrets of plastination—the preservation of human body parts. Themes of travel but also escape and flight are pervasive, as is information about bodies dried and stuffed, pickled in preservative, or, in a more modern bent, preserved with plastic polymer. Sprinkled throughout are more brief expostulations; Eryk the absconding ferry driver is notable, as well as the unnamed woman who unceremoniously provides assisted suicide to a dying friend. VERDICT This host of haunting narratives teases the mind and taunts the soul, providing multiple paths of escape in response to questions about existence and the life's struggles. As a preservative solution of severed threads, it relies on readers for assemblage, and the task is exhilarating indeed. [See Prepub Alert, 2/26/18.]—Henry Bankhead, San Rafael P.L., CA

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.