Author: Olga Tokarczuk (ed.)
Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions
Language: English
Pages: 400
Size: 19.8 x 13 x 2.5 cm
Weight: 420 g
Binding: Softcover
ISBN: 9781910695432
Price: €15.50
Product Description

Flights, a novel about travel in the twenty-first century and human anatomy, is Olga Tokarczuk’s most ambitious to date. It interweaves travel narratives and reflections on travel with an in-depth exploration of the human body, broaching life, death, motion, and migration. From the seventeenth century, we have the story of the Dutch anatomist Philip Verheyen, who dissected and drew pictures of his own amputated leg. From the eighteenth century, we have the story of a North African-born slave turned Austrian courtier stuffed and put on display after his death. In the nineteenth century, we follow Chopin’s heart as it makes the covert journey from Paris to Warsaw. In the present we have the trials of a wife accompanying her much older husband as he teaches a course on a cruise ship in the Greek islands, and the harrowing story of a young husband whose wife and child mysteriously vanish on a holiday on a Croatian island. With her signature grace and insight, Olga Tokarczuk guides the reader beyond the surface layer of modernity and towards the core of the very nature of humankind.

‘Olga Tokarczuk is a household name in Poland and one of Europe’s major humanist writers, working here in the continental tradition of the “thinking” or essayistic novel. Flights has echoes of WG Sebald, Milan Kundera, Danilo Kiš and Dubravka Ugrešić, but Tokarzcuk inhabits a rebellious, playful register very much her own. ... Flights is a passionate and enchantingly discursive plea for meaningful connectedness, for the acceptance of “fluidity, mobility, illusoriness”. After all, Tokarczuk reminds us, “Barbarians don’t travel. They simply go to destinations or conduct raids.” Hotels on the continent would do well to have a copy of Flights on the bedside table. I can think of no better travel companion in these turbulent, fanatical times.’
— Kapka Kassabova, Guardian

‘a profound meditation on time, mythology, the self and human anatomy… [W]e drift along happily on her flights of fancy, as her travels across space give way to journeys through history and deep into the psyche. Jennifer Croft’s bump-free translation only adds to the reader’s pleasure.’
— Chris Moss, Prospect Magazine

‘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. Some chapters are more akin to traditional travel notes: sketches of airport encounters, fellow travellers’ ‘confessions of whole lifetimes’, and other things people often jot down when on a journey. There are also beautiful set pieces, occasionally split into recurring threads. ’
— Anna Aslanyan, Spectator

‘The book is a personal, yet universal mythology of travel, a cabinet of curiosities, a box with old tickets, museum leaflets, shells and beer mats collected on the way. What we can touch, whether it is our own body, someone else’s hand in spontaneous dance, a crumbled leaf from a particularly important tree – all those things are imbued with meaning that, in Tokarczuk’s telling, becomes greater than the grand narratives history and politics have been feeding us.’
— Marta Dziurosz, Glasgow Review of Books

‘A magnificent writer.’
— Svetlana Alexievich, Nobel Prize in Literature laureate 2015

‘One among a very few signal European novelists of the past quarter-century.’
— The Economist

‘Reading Flights is like finally hearing from a weird old best friend you lost touch with years ago and assumed was gone forever because people that amazing and inventive just don't last. Wrong – they were off rediscovering the world on your behalf, just as Olga Tokarczuk does.’
— Toby Litt, author of Hospital

‘I have always considered her a person of great literary abilities. With Flights I have my proof. This is one of the most important Polish books I have read for years.’
— Jerzy Sosnowski

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 honour, the Nike and the Nike Readers’ Prize. Tokarczuk also received a Nike in 2009 for Flights. She is the author of eight novel, two short story collections and has been translated into a dozen languages.

Jennifer Croft is the recipient of Fulbright, PEN, and National Endowment for the Arts grants, as well as the Michael Henry Heim Prize, and her translations from Polish, Spanish, and Ukrainian have appeared in the New York Times, n+1, Electric Literature, The New Republic, BOMB, Guernica, and elsewhere. She holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. She is a founding editor of The Buenos Aires Review.