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

It’s been a long time since I was so intrigued by a narrator, or even by a protagonist. In Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, Tokarczuk delivers a character that is incredibly complex; she is serious but funny, odd but convincing, unstable but proactive. Even without the plot that drives this novel forward, I think I would have kept reading just to observe her.

That said, there is a plot, and it’s the classic whodunit murder mystery, set in a tiny Polish village. But while I often think of murder mysteries as being pure entertainment, this novel was much, much more. Tokarczuk elevates this plot to grapple with some really big topics: borders, motherhood, death, justice, mental health, art, and so much more. I picked this one up because it’s the @fictionmatters book club pick of the month, and I just can’t wait to discuss some of these big themes.

I have to admit, before starting this one, I was a little skeptical, having read Tokarczuk’s prize-winning story collection, Flights, and not absolutely loving it. But now that I’ve so thoroughly enjoyed Drive Your Plow…, I may need to revisit Flights (admittedly I was much younger and I’m a different reader now). I’ll definitely be doing that soon…

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