I read this back in January and it was okay but it was also a selection in the Booker Prize group for our July read. I knew I hadn’t got much more than an outline of the plot and a brief gloss on the characters. I would not be able to discuss this at all. So I plunged and was happily surprised to find I had both the Kindle and the Audible versions. I was surprised that I’d misremembered the ending.
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 – B+ for the Kindle and C- for the Audible / crime
It’s a really odd book written by Olga Tokarczuk 2019’s Nobel winner from Poland. I can’t say to much about it without getting into spoilers. Let me say that it is a very literary murder mystery with an amateur detective and her neighbor doing the main sleuthing. Just to twist things up a bit the neighbor’s son is the police chief and it’s set in a tiny rural community.
Janina Duszejko is an older middle aged widow who lives alone in a rural part of southern Poland – right across the border from the Czech Republic. She studies astrology and translates Blake into Polish with her friend Dizzy. She also watches out for her neighbor’s homes and does some upkeep there. One day she and her neighbor, Oddball, find their neighbor, Big Foot, dead in his home. (These are Janina’s names for those two.)
The title is from “Proverbs of Hell” by William Blake (1757 – 1827). The epigraphs leading each chapter are also from Blake.
It got a rating of 4.5 stars on Amazon and 4 stars on Goodreads and lots of accolades from the critics. I also enjoyed it the second time much more than the first.