Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

Staff Pick

Originally published in Polish in 2009, Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead (Riverhead, $27) is more linear than the buoyant Flights, but what may seem a breezy and almost comic story of small-town eccentrics is imbued with Tokarczuk’s wit, intelligence, and inimitable, subversive literary style. Both the narrator and the story are ingenious and winning creations. An involuntarily retired teacher and former bridge builder, Janina Duszejko is one of a handful of year-round residents in a rural outpost that serves as a summer getaway for the
wealthy. She spends her days checking on empty estates, casting horoscopes, helping a friend translate Blake (source of the novel’s title and stunningly apt epigraphs), and developing theories on everything from “testosterone autism” and why the feet—“our plugs into the socket”—are the most revealing part of the body, to why anger, which “has the power to exceed any limits,” is “the source of all wisdom”—revealing herself, like Blake, as a down-to-earth mystic. Then the murders start. The victims are all men who hunted and Duszejko believes they were killed by animals, as punishment for their cruelty. When the police laugh her off, Duszejko’s moral outrage grows, and Tokorczuk makes a powerful argument for the wisdom of the marginalized—whether old women, wild deer, or stray dogs.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel By Olga Tokarczuk, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translated by) Cover Image
By Olga Tokarczuk, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780525541332
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - August 13th, 2019