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Olga Tokarczuk

  • awardWinner, The Man Booker International Prize, 2018
  • awardWinner, Found in Translation Award for Jennifer Croft, 2018
  • awardLonglisted, Best Translated Book Award, United States, 2019
  • Translated by Jennifer Croft

    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.

    Jennifer Croft is the winner the 2018 Found in Translation Award for her translation of Flights


    Financial Times 
    Watch an interview in Words Without Borders with the translator of Flights, Jennifer Croft
    Louisiana Channel 
    PEN Transmissions 
    Publishing Perspectives, Man Booker International Winners Olga Tokarczuk and Jennifer Croft 
    Tank Magazine 
    Tonic Magazine   


    Australian ($)
    Book Forum 
    Saturday Paper
    Financial Times ($)
    Irish Times 
    LA Review of Books 
    London Review of Books
    Music & Literature
    New York Times 
    NYT, ‘7 new books we recommend this week’ 
    Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

    Olga Tokarczuk
    About the Author

    Olga Tokarczuk is the winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature and the Man Booker International Prize, for her novel Flights. She has received many other honours, including her country Poland’s highest literary award, the Nike, for both Flights and The Books of Jacob. Her novel Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead was also highly...

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    About the Translator

    Jennifer Croft is an American author, critic and translator who works from Polish, Ukranian and Argentine Spanish. She won the 2020 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing for her illustrated memoir Homesick and the 2018 Man Booker International Prize for her translation of Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights.

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    Text publication date:
    28 August 2017
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    Praise for Olga Tokarczuk

    ‘A magnificent writer.’

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

    ‘A novel of intuitions as much as ideas, a cacophony of voices and stories seemingly unconnected across time and space, which meander between the profound and the facetious, the mysterious and the ordinary, and whose true register remains one of glorious ambiguity…Flights is a passionate and enchantingly discursive plea for meaningful connectedness, for the acceptance of “fluidity, mobility, illusoriness”.’

    ‘A novel in essays, a world-exploration in words, a soaring journey across space and through time.’

    ‘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.’

    ‘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.’

    ‘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.’

    ‘Tokarczuk’s peerless travel guide is actually a guide to living. Every word, observation, reflection and story embraces the importance of staying mobile in thought as much as in being…This is as brilliant and life-affirming as literature gets.’

    ‘Tokarczuk has a quizzical and highly observant eye, seeking and recording, turning perversely towards the deformed, the monstrous and abject… This all makes for excellent and entertaining reading as we are privy to scenes and descriptions from which our first reaction would be to turn away.’

    ‘Clever with a dry wit and beautiful black and white maps throughout the book, which added to the feeling that reading it was like stepping into a museum.’

    Flights is a fragmented, bursting-with-life novel…A lively and strange collection of portraits of unrelated characters, all in transit, woven together by the narrator’s essayistic musings.’

    ‘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 a narrative to accompany one’s life—each new reading reveals a further destination, another idea to excite and engage the imagination…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.’

    ‘An indisputable masterpiece…reminiscent of the work of Sebald…an extraordinary accomplishment.’

    ‘Moving and profound.’

    ‘Disarming and wonderfully encouraging…Croft’s translation from Polish is light as a feather yet captures well the economy and depth of Tokarczuk’s deceptively simple style. A welcome reminder of how love drives out fear and also a worthy Man Booker International winner for 2018.’

    ‘Travel writing usually presents a linear narrative—as departures and returns easily correspond with beginnings and endings. But Tokarczuk complicates this. Her characters, like the book’s episodic structure, resist neat demarcations…As I neared the end of Flights, I realised I had stopped searching for a moral in each of these stories. The book is like a map: including disparate parts not because they cause or connect to each other, but because their contours help clarify a wider, impersonal whole. In this way, Tokarczuk shows that even the loneliest traveler fits into a bigger scheme.’

    ‘“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.’

    ‘'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.’

    ‘Pinwheels from somber to wryly funny to frantic with ease, and the myriad tones work together to build a layered, thought-provoking text…Tokarkczuk’s writing is endlessly penetrating and revelatory.’

    ‘Criminally good—the sort of novel that in its subtle imbrication of fragmentary narratives feels reminiscent of a great story like Austerlitz but at the same time entirely new.’

    ‘Magnificently translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft, Flights has the scattered intimate quality of a personal diary, its magic wedded to its singularity. It’s an unexpected, funny journey into that most elusive of places—the human condition.’

    ‘Tokarczuk’s stories encompass different epochs, locations, lengths, perspectives and tonal registers…She has an eye for the paradox of the encyclopedic project, which seeks at once to encompass a significant range of information and possibilities while also leaving room for expansion.’

    ‘A symphony of stories and fragments that ostensibly explores ideas of home and travel but really maps the anatomy of the heart and mind, this book triggers serious existential questions…Like Coetzee, [Tokarczuk] wears her intelligence lightly, but the soul-suffering is harder to conceal, and the cumulative effect is quietly devastating.’

    ‘It will make you want to quit your job, shed your identity, get on a plane, get on another, stay moving and see everything of this world that you can.’

    Other editions ofFlights
    • Flights
      ISBN: 9781925626223
      28 August 2017
      Buy ebook