By Olga Tokarczuk
Translated by Jennifer Croft
Published by Fitzcarraldo Editions
29 May: Olga Tokarczuk in conversation with Clare Armitstead at Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye
30 May: Olga Tokarczuk in conversation with Kaye Mitchell at Waterstones Deansgate, Manchester
31 May: Olga Tokarczuk in conversation with James Woodall at Calvert 22, London.
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.
'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
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 novels and 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.