The title is from William Blake’s, “Proverbs of Hell” but the story here is straight from Tokarczuk. But there’s lot of Blake in it as well as astrology, Swedenberg and even, yes, a couple of murders.
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
By Olga Tokarczuk /trans by Antonia Lloyd Jones
2019 / 275 pages
Read by Beata Pazniak 11h 39m
Rating – 7 for the Kindle and C- for the Audible / crime
This was first published in 2009 but won the Man Booker International Award just this year because it was finally translated into English. Tokarczuk is a well known writer having won the Nobel Prize for Literature only last year..
Drive Your Plow is different. But all her books are different. She’s amazingly creative and imaginative
In a small town in Poland, just across the border from the Czech Republic an older woman lives in a very small house alongside two other small houses on a hill above a small town. Her name is Mrs Duszejko and nothing is ever said about a possible husband somewhere – she doesn’t like her given name, Janina. And she gives her friends and neighbors their own names, Oddball, Big Foot, Dizzy, the Grey Lady and so on to suit their personas.
But seemingly random people start dying and we learn more about Mrs Duszejko and her friends.
The book was good – the Audible version was lousy. The narrator read way too slowly (275 pages took 11 1/2 hours?) It was so slow in places I could barely keep tuned in to what has happening.
Interesting research on animal behavior – Edward Payson Evans, The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals (1906), p. 18.
I borrowed this from the library, and couldn’t get interested in it at all.
I’ve been asking people, what makes this crime novel worthy of a Nobel??
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There’s nothing about this one novel that particularly deserves the Nobel, but Tokarczuk is so inventive in general that it’s just really amazing. She also wrote the book “Flights” which I read and enjoyed. – https://mybecky.blog/2019/05/14/flights-by-olga-tokarczuk/
Maybe “appreciated” is a better word. She’s written quite a number of other books but they’re mostly not available in English. (I don’t like Tokarczuk better than Faulkner or Garcia-Marquez – fwiw.)
Yes, I’ve heard that too. That this one is a departure from Flights, and not in a good way (unless you like crime fiction, of course, and many people do).
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True, Lisa – it’s a crime novel with a couple of murders but I doubt mystery aficionados will enjoy it because they willl certainly say it’s too literary and with the Blake allusions what can I say? – It”s a literary mystery – not for everyone. heh