Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead - Olga Tokarczuk

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

By: Olga Tokarczuk

Paperback | 1 October 2018

At a Glance

Paperback


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A subversive, entertaining noir novel from one of Poland's most important writers and a 2018 Man Booker International Prize shortlisted author.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead takes place in a remote Polish village, where Janina, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. When members of a local hunting club are found murdered, she becomes involved in the investigation. Janina is reclusive, preferring the company of animals to people; she's unconventional, believing in the stars, and she is fond of the poetry of William Blake, from whose work the title of the book is taken.

Filled with wonderful characters like Maladroit, Big Foot, Black Coat, Dizzy and Boros, this subversive, entertaining noir novel, by 'one of Europe's major humanist writers' (Guardian), offers thought-provoking ideas on our perceptions of madness, injustice against marginalised people, animal rights, the hypocrisy of traditional religion, belief in predestination -- and getting away with murder.

About the Author

Olga Tokarczuk is one of Poland's best and most beloved authors. In 2015 she received the German-Polish International Bridge Prize, as well as Poland's highest literary honour, the Nike and the Nike Readers' Prize. She also received a Nike in 2009 for her novel Flights, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2018.
Industry Reviews
'A magnificent writer.' * Svetlana Alexievich, Nobel Prize in Literature laureate 2015 *
'A strongly voiced existential thriller.' * Guardian *
'A moral thriller that will keep you guessing until its very last page.' * Culture.pl *
'This dazzling writer...feels the heartbeat of the natural world...one of the exhilarations of this novel is working through a complex truth about living among others.' * Monthly *
'Antonia Lloyd-Jones...has once again done a remarkable job of capturing the uncanny distinction of Tokarczuk's prose in English. There is much to admire in this book and even more to learn.' * Irish Times *
'Translated with virtuosic precision and wit by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Tokarczuk's prescient, provocative and furiously comic fiction seethes with a Blakean conviction of the cleansing power of rage: the vengeance of the weak when justice is denied.' * New Statesman *
'Entering Mrs. Duszejko's rich, eccentric world is like waking up in Oz, or falling into Wonderland. Everything, from the unreliable mobile phone signal to the patterns of the wind, is attributed character and motivation, so that the whole universe shimmers with intent, agency and hidden meaning.' * Big Issue *
'Tokarczuk's style, combining wit, uncanny metaphor, biological truth and metaphysical profundity, is unique. Her books reveal just how good literature can be.' * Saturday Paper *
'An astonishing amalgam of thriller, comedy and political treatise, written by a woman who combines an extraordinary intellect with an anarchic sensibility.' * Guardian *
'Sardonic humour and gothic plot-twists add a layer of macabre rustic comedy. Antonia Lloyd-Jones, an outstanding Polish-English translator, sculpts Janina's English voice (complete with Blakean capitalisations) with panache.' * Economist *
'Not your typical crime fiction...especially as each chapter carries an epigraph from William Blake.' * Times *
'Drive Your Plow casts a mythical spell over a chilly psychological thriller. It is so tantalisingly written, its developments so precisely but invisibly measured out, that I found myself far more likely to forget about the reviewing than the reading...a really good book can change the way we see things...Drive Your Plow unequivocally excels at this.' * Review 31 *
'[Flights is] a guide to living. Every word, observation, reflection and story embraces the importance of staying mobile in thought as much as in being...This is as brilliant and life-affirming as literature gets.' * Saturday Paper, on Flights *
'...darkly funny, politically charged, fiercely feminist, and occasionally just a little bit weird, and it's a wonderful salute to both Lloyd-Jones' sensitive translation and Tokarczuk's outspoken beliefs.' * AU Review *
'Skilfully translated by prize winning Antonia Lloyd-Jones, the book illustrates the manipulative, political power of word and phrasing.' * Stuff.co.nz *
'Olga Tokarczuk is a masterful storyteller who challenges expectations of what a story can be.' * Age *
'[A] mordant mix of whodunit, astrology, and the poetry of William Blake.' * Adelaide Advertiser *
'Ridiculous and existentially challenging by turns, this is a wildly inventive book.' * Overland *
'This book is a wild ride, full of harsh judgments and sharp-tongued language, until the surprise end.' * Australian *
'Drive Your Plow is exhilarating in a way that feels fierce and private, almost inarticulable; it's one of the most existentially refreshing novels I've read in a long time.' * New Yorker *
'A noir murder mystery that is less whodunnit than it is existential inquiry...Antonia Lloyd-Jones's translation from Polish sparkles.' * Millions *
'A barbed and subversive tale about what it takes to challenge the complacency of the powers that be.' * Boston Globe *
'[A] marvelously weird and fablelike mystery...This book is not a mere whodunit: It's a philosophical fairy tale about life and death that's been trying to spill its secrets.' * New York Times *
'It is a murder mystery, and therefore it rattles along, but it's also a philosophical contemplation on man's relationship with the natural world, and our relationships to those that we deem to be marginal-at the edge of society-and how we react to them...It's a fantastically rich book.' * Five Books *
'A blend of fairy tale and murder mystery, Tokarczuk explores how we assign privilege and sanity to some over others as her astrology-obsessed, animal-loving protagonist demands to be heard.' * TIME *
'I thrilled to this story-a dark, strange, comic, twisted masterpiece...It's a great narrative voice, and I loved the book from the first page.' * Elizabeth Gilbert *
'Brilliant, black-comic, eccentric writing. A novelist I only recently discovered, who is fully worthy of her Nobel Prize.' * Salman Rushdie *
'Tokarczuk raises essential questions about whose voices are privileged above others.' * TIME *
'A genre-defying novel, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead is part investigative thriller and part fairytale, with biting social critique and a wicked sense of humor.' * Book Riot *
'Wonderfully weird...Despite its highbrow laurels, Tokarczuk's novel reads more like a Slavic episode of Murder, She Wrote than a literary homework assignment.' * Chatelaine *
'A dark and fun mystery, a feminist comedy, plus a primer on existentialism and animal rights. It's the mix of high and low, humor and darkness that makes Tokarczuk such a remarkable chronicler of range of human emotions.' * Literary Hub *
'Crackling with energy and wholly original, Olga Tokarczuk dazzles with this literary thriller that is both ecofeminist manifesto and page-turning whodunit...This book is fierce and essential, fundamentally challenging how we perceive the world.' * Powell's *
'Haunting and beautifully written.' * CrimeReads *
'[A] wonderful Polish thriller and dark feminist comedy.' * Sisters in Crime *
'Tocarczuk is one of the greats. Drive Your Plow has one of the strangest narrators in literature, a kooky solitary with a Blake and astronomy obsession. Like Herzog, she sends long letters to people. Another genre defying masterpiece.' * Rabih Alameddine, Lit Hub *

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