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Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
A Novel
Olga Tokarczuk
read on September 3, 2019

This book came exceptionally well reviewed from Bookmarks, but not quite deservedly so in my opinion. It's good, fine. I appreciated the writing style (translation by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Tokarcczuk has a unique, poetic voice), but never quite connected with the narrative in the sense that I needed to read more. It filled the time while relaxing in Singapore, and on the flight back, but I don't expect to think about it much in the future.

I did surprisingly appreciate the focus on astrology, and found the main character (an astrology devotee) surprisingly likable despite that affliction. If anything, I didn't quite grasp onto the threads of "does free will exist - was she destined to live out this narrative in this way?" insomuch as I was thinking "is this women in fact insane, and is her obsession with astrology proof-positive?". The astrology is strong evidence in favor, but her awareness and empathy towards all living things was a strong counterpoint that no, it's just the rest of us that are monsters.

Author Bio:

Olga Tokarczuk is a Polish writer, activist, and public intellectual who has been described as one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful authors of her generation. In 2018, she won the Man Booker International Prize for her novel Flights (translated by Jennifer Croft), becoming the first Polish writer to do so. Tokarczuk is particularly noted for the mythical tone of her writing. She trained as a psychologist at the University of Warsaw and published a collection of poems, several novels, as well as other books with shorter prose works. Flights won the Nike Award, Poland's top literary prize, in 2008. She attended the 2010 Edinburgh Book Festival to discuss her book Primeval and Other Times and other work. With her novel Księgi jakubowe (The Books of Jacob), Tokarczuk won the Nike Award again in 2015. In the same year, Tokarczuk received the German-Polish International Bridge Prize, a recognition extended to persons especially accomplished in the promotion of peace, democratic development and mutual understanding among the people and nations of Europe.