Rebecca's Reviews > Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead

Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk
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Nobel Prize 2018 Winner!

(3.5)
What a bizarre novel! Janina Dusezjko is a delightfully twisted Miss Marple type who lives in a remote forest cabin in Poland, near the Czech border. She’s determined to learn the truth of what happened to her two beloved dogs, whom she calls her Little Girls. When four different men who were involved in local hunting – her unpleasant neighbor, a deer poacher whom she nicknamed Big Foot; a police commandant; a fox farm owner; and the president of the mushroom pickers’ association – are all found murdered, her theorizing runs wild. She believes the animals are taking revenge, and intends to use her astrology skills to glean more information about these untimely deaths. The police, meanwhile, dismiss her as a hysterical old crone.

The title comes from William Blake, whose writing is an undercurrent to the book: Dizzy, Janina’s former English pupil, is reading and translating Blake, and I reckon Janina’s nutty philosophy and capitalization of random words, especially abstractions, may be an homage to Blake. I probably missed some of the more intricate allusions, and my attention wandered for a while during the middle of the book, but this was an offbeat and mostly enjoyable read. I struggled with Flights, but I’m glad I tried Tokarczuk again. My thanks to Fitzcarraldo Editions, who sent an unsolicited review copy. (Originally published in Polish in 2009.)

A representative passage: “We have this body of ours, a troublesome piece of luggage, we don’t really know anything about it and we need all sorts of Tools to find out about its most natural processes.”

I also particularly liked this observation: “On a Wednesday in January, at seven in the morning, it’s plain to see that the world was not made for Man, and definitely not for his comfort or pleasure.”
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Reading Progress

June 25, 2018 – Shelved
June 25, 2018 – Shelved as: decided-against
June 25, 2018 – Shelved as: lit-in-translation
June 25, 2018 – Shelved as: mysteries
June 25, 2018 – Shelved as: unsolicited-from-publisher
September 7, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
January 17, 2019 – Started Reading
January 18, 2019 – Shelved as: awesome-title
January 29, 2019 – Shelved as: languages
January 30, 2019 –
page 167
62.31% ""On a Wednesday in January, at seven in the morning, it's plain to see that the world was not made for Man, and definitely not for his comfort or pleasure.""
February 14, 2019 – Shelved as: unreliable-narrator
February 14, 2019 – Finished Reading
August 17, 2019 – Shelved as: reviewed-for-blog

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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Sebastian Olga ♥️


message 2: by Melki (new) - added it

Melki This sounds like my kind of thing. Great review, Rebecca.


Rebecca Melki wrote: "This sounds like my kind of thing. Great review, Rebecca."

Thanks, Melki! It's definitely not your typical novel. Very creative, and quirky in a good way.


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