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Flights
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Winner of the 2018 Man Booker International Prize

About the Author

Olga Tokarczuk is the author of nine novels, three short story collections and has been translated into thirty languages. Her novel Flights won the 2018 International Booker Prize, in Jennifer Croft's translation. In 2019, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Reviews

'A magnificent writer.'
- Svetlana Alexievich, Nobel Prize in Literature laureate 2015

'A writer on the level of W. G. Sebald.'
- Annie Proulx, author of The Shipping News

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

'Flights works like a dream does: with fragmentary trails that add up to a delightful reimagining of the novel itself.'
- Marlon James, author of A Brief History of Seven Killings

'The best novel I've read in years is Olga Tokarczuk's Flights (trans. Jennifer Croft): Most great writers build a novel as one would a beautiful house, brick by brick, wall by wall, from the ground up. Or using another metaphor, a writer gathers her yarn, and with good needles and structure, knits a wonderful sweater or scarf. I tend to prefer novels where a writer weaves her threads this way and that, above and below, inside outside, and ends up with a carpet. Flights is such a novel.'
- Rabih Alameddine, author of An Unnecessary Woman

'Flights could almost be an inventory of the ways narrative can serve a writer short of, and beyond, telling a story. The book's prose is a lucid medium in which narrative crystals grow to an ideal size, independent structures not disturbing the balance of the whole ... Much of the pleasure of reading Flights comes from the essay clusters embedded between sections of narratives ... The cascades of concise interstitial passages are often satisfying riffs on time and space, bodies and language, repetition and uniqueness ... Jennifer Croft's translation is exceptionally adventurous ... she can give the impression, not of passing on meanings long after the event, but of being present at the moment when language reached out to thought.'
- Adam Mars-Jones, London Review of Books

'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 Kis and Dubravka Ugresic, but Tokarczuk 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

'It's a busy, beautiful vexation, this novel, a quiver full of fables of pilgrims and pilgrimages, and the reasons - the hidden, the brave, the foolhardy - we venture forth into the world. ... The book is transhistorical, transnational; it leaps back and forth through time, across fiction and fact. Interspersed with the narrator's journey is a constellation of discrete stories that share rhyming motifs and certain turns of phrase. ... In Jennifer Croft's assured translation, each self-enclosed account is tightly conceived and elegantly modulated, the language balletic, unforced.'
- Parul Sehgal, 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. ... A select few novels possess the wonder of music, and this is one of them. No two readers will experience it exactly the same way. 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.'
- Eileen Battersby, Los Angeles Review of Books

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