Kathleen'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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Man Booker International Prize Longlist 2019. Tokarczuk’s murder mystery takes place in a remote village along the Polish-Czech Republic border. Janina Duszejko is a former bridge engineer and currently a schoolteacher teaching English to young children. This elderly character is a candidate for PETA membership, explains life through her study of astrology, and works with one of her neighbors translating the poetry of William Blake. This is one quirky character! Oh yes, and she also seems to be chronically sick.

The story opens when one of her neighbors, Oddball, discovers their mutual neighbor Bigfoot has died. It seems this avid poacher choked on a bone from a deer he has recently killed. Before long, other men in the village are found dead. All of them are hunters, and Janina suggests that it is the animals taking their revenge.

But this is a story by Tokarczuk, so it also includes a philosophical discussion of the rights of animals and the cruelty of hunting. Where does the poetry of William Blake fit in? William Blake’s belief in the innocence of nature, of course! Recommend.
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Reading Progress

September 9, 2019 – Started Reading
September 9, 2019 – Shelved
September 9, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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message 1: by Jenna (new) - added it

Jenna What an interesting-sounding book! You're making me want to read this list of books too (Booker longlisters) with all the terrific ones you're reviewing, Kathleen.


Kathleen I think you would enjoy Tokarczuk's work. She won the Man Booker International Prize last year for 'Flights'--a VERY original piece of writing.


message 3: by Jenna (new) - added it

Jenna I'm not the biggest fan of short stories but I'm sufficiently intrigued that I'm going to add this one. Thanks!


message 4: by Judith (new) - added it

Judith E I think I would have missed the Blake tie in, so thanks for the reference.


Kathleen Judith wrote: "I think I would have missed the Blake tie in, so thanks for the reference."

There is humor in the whole translation aspect; Janina and Dizzy are translating from Polish to English the poetry that was originally written in English.


message 6: by Beata (new)

Beata Wonderful review, Kathleen :)) I'm always happy and proud to see Polish Authors gaining reputation. Actually, Tokarczuk is the only one I follow on regular basis ... This novel is amazing, but for me it'd be difficult to define one specific thing I liked about it.


Kathleen Beata--I was thinking of you when I chose to read this one. :) I do like Tokarczuk's highly original writing. And did you know the narrator on the audiobook is also named Beata?


message 8: by Beata (new)

Beata Just checked the narrator, Kathleen, and I admit I don't know this lady, but it's probably my fault, entirely :) I've heard some rumours that Ms Tokarczuk is among the candidates for the Nobel Prize, and naturally fingers crossed there, but I guess the chances are very slim ... I hope you'll read some of her other novels, some are due to be translated into English next year, I believe :) :)


Kathleen I look forward to reading them! :)


message 10: by Paula (new)

Paula Kalin Wonderful review, Kathleen!


Kathleen Thank you Paula.


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