Winner, 2018 Man Booker International Prize
‘One among a very few signal European novelists of the past quarter-century.’ Economist
Flights is a series of imaginative and mesmerising meditations on travel in all its forms, not only the philosophy and meaning of travel, but also fascinating anecdotes that take us out of ourselves, and back to ourselves.
Olga Tokarczuk brilliantly connects travel with spellbinding anecdotes about anatomy, about life and death, about the very nature of humankind. Thrilling characters and stories abound: the Russian sect who escape the devil by remaining constantly in motion; the anatomist Verheyen who writes letters to his amputated leg; the story of Chopin’s heart as it makes its journey from Paris to Warsaw, stored in a tightly sealed jar beneath his sister’s skirt; the quest of a Polish woman who emigrated to New Zealand as a teen but must now return in order to poison her terminally ill high-school sweetheart...
You will never read anything like this extraordinary, utterly original, mind-expanding book. Many consider Tokarczuk to be the most important Polish writer of her generation and Flights is one of those rare books that seems to conjure life itself out of the air.
Olga Tokarczuk is one of Poland’s best and most beloved authors. In 2015 she received the Brueckepreis and the prestigious annual literary award from Poland’s Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, as well as Poland’s highest literary honor, the Nike, and the Nike Readers’ Prize. Tokarczuk also received a Nike in 2009 for Flights. She is the author of eight novels and two short story collections, and has been translated into a dozen languages.
Jennifer Croft is the recipient of Fulbright, PEN, MacDowell and National Endowment for the Arts grants and fellowships, as well as the Michael Henry Heim Prize for Translation. She holds a PhD from Northwestern University and an MFA from the University of Iowa.
‘A magnificent writer.’Svetlana Alexievich, Nobel Prize in Literature laureate 2015
‘Tokarczuk examines questions of travel in our increasingly interconnected and fast-moving world...Trained as a psychologist, Tokarczuk is interested in what connects the human soul and body. It is a leitmotif that, despite the apparent lack of a single plot, tightly weaves the text’s different strands—of fiction, memoir and essay—into a whole.’ Spectator
‘Flights is a passionate and enchantingly discursive plea for meaningful connectedness, for the acceptance of “fluidity, mobility, illusoriness”.’ Guardian
‘Tokarczuk is one of Europe’s most daring and original writers, and this astonishing performance is her glittering, bravura entry in the literature of ideas...Flights is an international, mercurial, and always generous book, to be endlessly revisited. Like a glorious, charmingly impertinent travel companion, it reflects, challenges, and rewards.’ LA Review of Books
‘Flights itself is a cabinet of curiosities, of “moments, crumbs, fleeting configurations”...The individual vignettes are themselves sculpted, and anchoring...Each self-enclosed account is tightly conceived and elegantly modulated, the language balletic, unforced.’ New York Times
‘Tokarczuk is one of Europe’s most daring and original writers, and this astonishing performance is her glittering, bravura entry in the literature of ideas...Flights is an international, mercurial, and always generous book, to be endlessly revisited.’ LA Review of Books
‘Tokarczuk’s approach, like Melville’s, is encyclopedic and multiform. She turns nothing away...Her discerning eye shakes things up, in the same way that her book scrambles conventional forms.’ New Yorker
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - MM_Jones - LibraryThing
Once again I find myself bogged down in trying to makes sense of a nonlinear work of fiction. Perhaps this type of writing is the newest version of the "novel", but I find I gravitate to either facts ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LukeS - LibraryThing
Translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft. Motion! Keep moving - that’s the very explicit message in Flights, Olga Tokarczuk’s fascinating and highly praised 2007 novel. Stand still and The Man ... Read full review