Believing, at first, that all you need from Olga Tokarczuk are the stunning images and sensations of motion; of movement from one pinprick of space to another; of discrete moments in endless flights; you'll soon find yourself reveling in the vertiginous interiority and flashing absence of narrative ailerons as the stories in Flights repeatedly lead to the unexpected, subterranean, and extraordinary. Brace yourself for longterm impact.
WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST FOR TRANSLATED LITERATURE
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.
About the Author
Olga Tokarczuk has won the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Man Book International Prize, among many other honors. She is the author of a dozen works of fiction, two collections of essays, and a children’s book; her work has been translated into fifty languages.
Praise for Flights:
"What’s in a novel? This Man Booker International Prize winner reads like a rigorous response to that question in the best, most edifying (and maddening) way…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." –Entertainment Weekly “A revelation … Flights is a witty, imaginative, hard-to-classify work that is in the broadest sense about travel…. In this risky, restlessly mercurial book, Tokarczuk has found a way of turning…philosophy into writing that doesn't just take flight but soars.” – NPR’s “Fresh Air” “A beautifully fragmented look at man’s longing for permanence … ambitious and complex.” —Washington Post “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 …In Jennifer Croft’s assured translation, each self-enclosed account is tightly conceived and elegantly modulated, the language balletic, unforced.” —The New York Times “A writer on the level of W. G. Sebald.” –Annie Proulx “Tokarczuk’s discerning eye shakes things up, in the same way that her book scrambles conventional forms... Like her characters, our narrator is always on the move, and is always noticing and theorizing, often brilliantly.”—The New Yorker
“There's no better travel companion in these turbulent, fanatical times.”—The Guardian
“Dive in beyond physical place to the mind of the traveler in this experimental collection of interwoven stories, essays, and musings as delightfully meandering as wanderlust itself.”–Fodor’s Travels “Flights works like a dream does: with fragmentary trails that add up to a delightful reimagining of the novel itself.”—Marlon James
“This hypnotizing new novel about travel, movement, and the complexities of distance deserves a place on every bookshelf.” —Southern Living
“Provides food for thought about what makes us move and what makes us tick.… Travel may broaden the mind, but this travel-themed book stimulates it.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Take the time to settle into this unconventional narrative that is by turns startling, moving and profound.” –Dallas Morning News
“An unclassifiable medley of linked fictions and essays.… Reading it is like being a passenger on a long trip.... It’s amusing, exciting.... It moves... to moments of intense interest and beauty.” —Wall Street Journal
“A disorienting, intelligent, and unforgettable book.”–Bustle “Prescient, provocative, and furiously comic.” —The New Statesman “An expansive, probing and enigmatic novel of ideas…Chapters range from a few sentences to dozens of pages, creating a kaleidoscope of perspectives on the mutability and movement of humanity.” –amNewYork “A graceful and philosophic meditation on travel.”–Newsday “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.”–Los Angeles Review of Books
“An intellectual revelation… Flights seeks out bridges between the concepts of cosmopolitanism and cultural hybridity; between discoveries of affection and curiosity toward unknown cultures, and toward the intrinsic multiplicity of one’s own place of origin.”–Boston Review
“Flightsis epic in its scope and mission. … [The novel] reads as a sprawling, surreal meditation on what it is to be alive in an increasingly transient world.”–Vox “If a strictly linear narrative structure is obligatory to your definition of what makes for a ‘good book,’ I’d encourage you to set that requirement aside for a bit and consider this 2018 Booker Prize winner. … Themes and patterns will begin to emerge of lives and loves and a rocket ship ride through the swirl of stars that is us. An added bonus: Jennifer Croft’s translation (from Polish) is a joy to read and a template for a translation master class.” –The Millions
“Deftly explores, in limpid, captivating vignettes, the spaces we inhabit—bodies, geographies, the expanse of the page—and the loves, fears, and wonder that inhabit us.” –Literary Hub
“An indisputable masterpiece.”–Publishers Weekly, starred review “This host of haunting narratives teases the mind and taunts the soul... exhilarating.” —Library Journal