·Karen·'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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it was amazing
bookshelves: favourites, poland, best-of-2019

Janina= gift of god, god's grace.
No wonder Mrs Duszejko rejects her given name as unsuitable.
One has to tell people what to think. There's no alternative. Otherwise someone else will do it.

Think about that. As we are instructed in the first chapter's heading: NOW PAY ATTENTION.
See? there is an alternative. Someone else will do it.
There's more, so much more (obviously!), no I don't just mean more words, more pages, I mean more that made me gurgle with laughter and delight.
He came to me in the Night and squatted by my bed. I wasn't asleep.
'Are you asleep?' he asked.
'Are you religious?' I had to put the question.
'Yes' he replied proudly. 'I'm an atheist.'

These writers:
In a way, people like her, those who wield a pen, can be dangerous. At once a suspicion of fakery springs to mind -

And the lady writer, the Grey Lady (she who looked like a survivor from Pompeii), she has such insight and wisdom, yes. Such an intuitive intelligence. She cannot stay in this awful place, with all these murders going on. She comes to tell Mrs Duszejko that she is selling her house.
'It's impossible to live in a place where things like that happen. Those dreadful murders have brought various minor deceptions and improprieties to light. It turns out I have been living among monsters,' she said fretfully. 'You are the only honest person in the whole place.'

What's that you say? You don't see why that's funny?
Oh no, I'm not going to tell you. You will just have to read this to find out.

I would like to express my admiration for the absolutely bravura performance of Antonia Lloyd-Jones. At one point Mrs Duszejko and her friend Dizzy are translating a verse of Blake's poetry into Polish. So they try out several different versions, all of which are translated for us into English, from the Polish, which was a translation from the English. A daunting task if ever there was one, but wonderfully resolved.
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Reading Progress

February 28, 2019 – Started Reading
February 28, 2019 – Shelved
February 28, 2019 –
page 54
20.15% "Even the chapter titles are a delight. Who could resist NOW PAY ATTENTION"
March 2, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)

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Tony No spoiling here. But the wonder of the novel washed over me again.

·Karen· And so funny!! (The novel.)

·Karen· PS Did you know there's a film? Called Pokot in the original, by Agnieszka Holland.

message 4: by Mag (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mag Nice review :)

·Karen· Thanks Magda. Have you read this?

message 6: by Fionnuala (new) - added it

Fionnuala I feel myself drawing closer and closer to Tokarczuk. I actually own another of her books so that one will have to be read first. Though I'm really curious about those minor deceptions and improprieties.

message 7: by Ilse (new) - added it

Ilse Having just enjoyed a book that made me laugh out loud a few times (not sure that was the intention of the author), your alluring review and the quotes you picked point me to the book I hope to read for Poland in my 'read a book of a woman author of each EU country in 2019' intention (I prefer to stay hopeful and so the UK is still included in that list).

·Karen· Ilse wrote: "Having just enjoyed a book that made me laugh out loud a few times (not sure that was the intention of the author), your alluring review and the quotes you picked point me to the book I hope to rea..."

That's an interesting project, although I'm afraid I don't share your optimism vis à vis the UK. My own reaction has been to take German nationality so that I can remain a citizen of the EU.
I'm sure you will love Tokarczuk, both this and Flights were just a delight. I have now ordered everything else she has written that's available in English.
Btw, I love how GR now recommends all sorts of other Polish works to me, notwithstanding my lack of Polish!

message 9: by Ilse (new) - added it

Ilse I think if I would have been in such a situation, I would have done the same (and not count on optimism), today's paper reported the increase of Brits taking on the Belgian nationality - before Brexit referendum on average 8,8 per month, since then 90 per month. I have Flights on my mind too...Funny what you say about the recommendations, I see the same happening with Turkish and Russian books on my account - languages I am evidently extraordinary fluent in ;p.

·Karen· Reminds me of that corny old ESL joke:

*Said with strong Slav accent* :"I haeve come to London to polish my English."
"Oh, don't worry, your English is Polish enough."

message 11: by Ilse (new) - added it

Ilse Great joke :-D

message 12: by Jim (new)

Jim Fonseca Nice review Karen, thanks

·Karen· Thank YOU Jim.

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