"Flights" by Olga Tokarczuk
2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST FOR TRANSLATED LITERATURE
WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2018 BY ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, THE WASHINGTON POST, BOSTON GLOBE, LITHUB AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 WARWICK PRIZE FOR WOMEN IN TRANSLATION
A visionary work of fiction by "A writer on the level of W. G. Sebald" (Annie Proulx)
"A magnificent writer." --Svetlana Alexievich, Nobel Prize-winning author of Secondhand Time
"A beautifully fragmented look at man's longing for permanence.... Ambitious and complex." --Washington Post
From the incomparably original Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk, Flights interweaves reflections on travel with an in-depth exploration of the human body, broaching life, death, motion, and migration. Chopin's heart is carried back to Warsaw in secret by his adoring sister. A woman must return to her native Poland in order to poison her terminally ill high school sweetheart, and a young man slowly descends into madness when his wife and child mysteriously vanish during a vacation and just as suddenly reappear. Through these brilliantly imagined characters and stories, interwoven with haunting, playful, and revelatory meditations, Flights explores what it means to be a traveler, a wanderer, a body in motion not only through space but through time. Where are you from? Where are you coming in from? Where are you going? we call to the traveler. Enchanting, unsettling, and wholly original, Flights is a master storyteller's answer.
Here I am enjoying "Flights" by Olga Tokarczuk during The Blizzard of 2019.
Flights, Memory, Emigration: Polish Writing Now
A Panel Discussion with Olga Tokarczuk. Also on the panel: Sean Bye, Polish Cultural Institute New York, and Jakub Czernik, Jagiellonian University, Poland.
Friday, September 28, 2018
Sloan Auditorium, Goergen Hall, UR River Campus
This event is co-presented by the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies, Open Letters Books, and the Polish Cultural Institute New York.
Free and open to the public. Parking on designated University lots is free after 7 p.m.
About the Speaker
Olga Tokarczuk is one of Poland's most celebrated and beloved authors, a winner of the Man Booker International Prize, as well as her country's highest literary honor, the Nike. She trained as a psychologist at the University of Warsaw, and her interest in Jung continues to influence her work. Her first book, a collection of poems, was published in 1989. She is the author of eight novels and two short story collections, and has been translated into a dozen languages. Critics have compared Tokarczuk’s nonlinear novels and short stories, which are often punctuated by mysterious maps and diagrams, to the work of celebrated European authors like W.G. Sebald and Milan Kundera.
"One among a very few signal European novelists of the past quarter-century." -- The Economist
"A household name in Poland and one of Europe's major humanist writers" -- The Guardian
First published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in the UK last spring in translation by Jennifer Croft, Olga Tokarczuk’s intoxicating novel Flights (Bieguni) is now out in the United States from Riverhead. It has taken critics, booksellers, and readers alike by storm. The London Magazine pegged the book as “a brilliant, experimental tour de force” and praised its “liquid, mellifluous prose.” Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexieivich called Tokarczuk “a magnificent writer.” Exquisitely translated by the award-winning novelist Jennifer Croft, Flights delves into the mystery and wonder intrinsic to the human experience. It is made up of 116 vignettes — both fiction and nonfiction — ranging from a Polish man’s desperate search for his wife and child after they disappear during a vacation in Croatia, to a historical account of Chopin’s heart being smuggled into Warsaw beneath his sister’s skirt. In May, Tokarczuk and Croft won the Man Booker International Prize for Flights, making it the first Polish novel to win the world's leading prize for books in English-language translation.
"Flights" is the first Polish novel to win the world's leading prize for books in English-language translation.