Flights by Olga Tokarczuk (tr. Jennifer Croft)

a nutshell: entwined into the nomadic needlework of this novel are anecdotes, letters, fragmented narratives, essays; Flights is vast, formidable, flux incarnated – and can’t be nutshelled

a line (or a few lines, in this case): Seeing the world from above, its beautiful, peaceful order. An order that is antiseptic. Contained in shells and caves, in grains of sand and in the scheduled flights of giant airplanes, in symmetry … in the eloquent light of the information screens, and in all light.”

an image: a despairing mother, seemingly suffocating in the pressure of caring for a chronically ill son, flees into the facelessness of vagrancy until a scene of mistreatment chokes her back into recalling her child

a thought: Flights felt to me like a book that requires numerous re-readings for any sense of comprehension; surfacing from it – four hundred pages later – I could scarcely remember ever beginning it

a fact: I didn’t know, until reading Tokarczuk’s account, that the composer Chopin had made the slightly hideous(?) request that his heart be extracted from his corpse and sent from Paris back to his home country, Poland


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