Flights by Olga Tokarczuk

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“Flights” is a unique reading experience, but it also can be a demanding one. However, perseverance pays huge dividends. Travel may broaden the mind, but this travel-themed book stimulates it.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

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.
 

About Olga Tokarczuk

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Published May 17, 2017 by Fitzcarraldo Editions. 400 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Flights
All: 4 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 0

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Malcolm Forbes on Aug 16 2018

“Flights” is a unique reading experience, but it also can be a demanding one. However, perseverance pays huge dividends. Travel may broaden the mind, but this travel-themed book stimulates it.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Kapka Kassabova on Jun 03 2017

Flights has echoes of WG Sebald, Milan Kundera, Danilo Kiš and Dubravka Ugrešić, but Tokarczuk inhabits a rebellious, playful register very much her own.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by John Powers on Aug 20 2018

In this risky, restlessly mercurial book, she's found a way of turning that philosophy into writing that doesn't just take flight but soars.

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NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Silvia Moreno-Garcia on Aug 15 2018

It's a journey without a destination, and this will naturally frustrate the reader who demands Story, who adores linearity. But for those who like traveling beyond the edges of the map, Flights could do the trick.

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