Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead


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A subversive, entertaining noir novel from one of Poland's most important writers and the winner of the 2018 Man Booker International Prize

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 won the Man Booker International Prize in 2018.


'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.' * *
'This dazzling writer...feels the heartbeat of the natural 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.' * *
'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 *
'While it adopts the straightforward structure of a murder mystery, [the book features] macabre humor and morbid philosophical interludes [that] are distinctive to its author. . . [and an] excellent payoff at the finale. . . . As for Ms. Tokarczuk, there's no doubt: She's a gifted, original writer, and the appearance of her novels in English is a welcome development.' * Wall Street Journal *
'A paean to nature. . . a sort of ode to Blake. . . [and] a lament. . . Does Tokarczuk transcend Blake? Arguable -perhaps.' * NPR *
'A brilliant literary murder mystery.' * Chicago Tribune *
'Shimmering with subversive brilliance . . . . this is not your conventional crime story-for Tokarczuk is not your conventional writer. Through her extraordinary talent and intellect, and her 'thinking novels,' she ponders and tackles larger ecological and political issues. The stakes are always high; Tokarczuk repeatedly rises to the occasion and raises a call to arms.' * HuffPost *
'Sometimes the opening sentence of a first-person narrative can so vividly capture the personality of its speaker that you immediately want to spend all the time you can in their company. That's the case with . . . Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead . . . [a] barbed and subversive tale about what it takes to challenge the complacency of the powers that be.' * Boston Globe *

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