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Flights de Olga Tokarczuk
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Flights (2007 original; edició 2018)

de Olga Tokarczuk (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,2532812,593 (3.71)76
A seventeenth-century Dutch anatomist discovers the Achilles tendon by dissecting his own amputated leg. Chopin's heart is carried back to Warsaw in secret by his adoring sister. A woman must return to her native Poland in order to poison her terminally ill high school sweetheart, and a young man slowly descends into madness when his wife and child mysteriously vanish during a vacation and just as suddenly reappear. Through these brilliantly imagined characters and stories, interwoven with haunting, playful, and revelatory meditations, Flights explores what it means to be a traveler, a wanderer, a body in motion not only through space but through time. Where are you from? Where are you coming in from? Where are you going? we call to the traveler. Enchanting, unsettling, and wholly original, Flights is a master storyteller's answer.… (més)
Membre:ipsoivan
Títol:Flights
Autors:Olga Tokarczuk (Autor)
Informació:Riverhead Books (2018), 415 pages
Col·leccions:To read or reread, La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:Cap

Informació de l'obra

Flights de Olga Tokarczuk (2007)

  1. 00
    Severance: Stories de Robert Olen Butler (Othemts)
  2. 00
    In Transit de Brigid Brophy (Othemts)
  3. 01
    Lincoln in the Bardo de George Saunders (Othemts)
  4. 01
    Walking Through Brambles: A Narrative of Circumspection de G W Latimer (MM_Jones)
    MM_Jones: Both are nonlinear works of fiction. One won the Man Booker International prize, the other by an unknown author.
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Anglès (23)  Alemany (1)  Castellà (1)  Neerlandès (1)  Danès (1)  Totes les llengües (27)
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Small PSA: most of the book's short essays are written in an easy academic style which might make them boring for those who despise that fashion. If you crave pure narratives à la generic/standard English fiction this book might not be a good fit.

This work of distilled art took me almost two years to complete, despite possessing a clear narrative, and a lone lucent theme—what stays in motion is alive, the settled are as good as embalmed cadavers out for display. I read many books and short stories in between—many from Olga Tokarczuk herself—and her fascinated, sometimes frantic, sketches of traveling and motion in perpetuity began to take the shape of a behemoth in my subconscious. I have read and reread several of the narratives, once going back to the very start from somewhere in the middle because the behemoth (then just a small kitten, perhaps) demanded that I soak it all in, remember it, cherish it, before I venture further. After finishing a strong narrative I have closed the book for weeks, which is an odd behaviour since I usually gulp down such a book in one long sitting.

Perhaps the structure of the book - several intertwined stories interspersed with numerous short essays, had made such pauses possible in practice.

Leaving all that apart, the short essays are incisive and their topics are diverse, as if a jack of all trades mind with superior ability to pluck out threads of questions out of an academic talk aimed at laypeople has jotted these essays down (this is a borrowed analogy from this work itself.) Take for example her essay on the museum of human deformities. In it, while looking at deformed foetuses that couldn't complete their genesis, she wonders how the embryo knew where to grow arms and legs and lungs, how the body's structure comes out of a small round cell! It's a striking observation that she just mentions matter-of-factly in two lines and moves on, but it's a genuine research question without a complete answer still!

The fictional stories have complex themes with only one common denominator between them. The travellers find their fixed friends and acquaintances slowly decaying, the stench of it becoming a gale for the traveller soul, carrying them further and further away even as they half-heartedly wish to stay for love's sake. Even when the protagonists are at home, majority of the narrative takes place when they're in motion - while driving, in lifts, on long walks, in chariots, on boats, or circling around in rooms. She does not spare her protagonists even in bed - they should either be taking rest between travels, or they're doomed to insomnia and plagued by nightmares. Staying still is the most abhorrent and deteriorating activity her characters can engage in.

She also seems to place an awful lot of emphasis on islands, or places near water. The number is irrationally high for me to consider it just coincidence or preference. Maybe waterways are a quicker way for escape from settling down, who knows.

I'll probably need to reread this multiple times before my review can begin to do this book justice. ( )
  Toshi_P | May 6, 2022 |
Can't remember the last time I was as disappointed in a book. I'd been looking forward to reading this since it won the 2018 Booker and Tokarczuk won the Nobel. All the reviews seemed to suggest it was squarely up my alley, and so I admit my expectations were higher than usual.

However I just don't think this book succeeds at all. As a free-wheeling series of vignettes, hung on a central rubric (in this case 'motion/travel') it's outsmarted by writers like Sebald, who did this years ago and much better.

The main problem is that the majority of interludes are just overwhelmingly banal, and read like the shower thoughts of a gap-year traveller - desperately justifying their long holiday through surface-deep musings on the importance of moving. A few reviewers misused the word 'flaneur' in describing this - when that's what this book is precisely lacking: any spatially-specific depth, developed through proper engagement over time. It's an 'airport novel' in the worst sense.

I mean: "Barbarians don’t travel. They simply go to destinations or conduct raids". Good lord, pass me the beer.

The longer fictional elements which intersperse the text are better - and written in a frank, competent style. But as unresolved vignettes they are still trying to gesture towards a vague profundity which the book doesn't ever validate or justify. ( )
  sometimeunderwater | May 4, 2022 |
120 pp. in. i'm mostly certain i won't like this book. i've found 2 "stories" that i think will continue in other parts of the book: 1) the first-person narrator's story, the one the book starts with 2) the story of the family on the island vacation, where the mother and child disappear. there was a story of Eryk, but i feel like that story has probably concluded.

the super-short, fragmentary sections. nah, not getting it for me.

140 pp. in. getting into the hard slog mode of reading here. narrative?

page 200. DNFing this one.
  stevenpkent | Apr 21, 2022 |
Flights (2007) by Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk may have won the Booker Prize in 2018 but just felt like a never-ending book. Thankfully, it had an end after all.

It’s been a while since I met a book that felt so painfully slow, disjointed, uninteresting, and absolutely not my jam.

The odd thing is, that parts of the book felt like I should have loved it because those parts did remind me of the writing of Ali Smith … except that where Smith manages to be evocative, Tokarczuk sounded sarcastic to me.

I guess the point of Flights was to show how everything, all the world is in transit or transition in some way, but the sheer number of different snippets of stories – there were no real stories in this book, at least none that had a beginning, middle and end – just made me loose interest very quickly in any of them.
Couple this with a style that, while very lyrical, was experimental to the point of just throwing out a lot of, not platitudes, but statements like they were supposed be universal truths without questioning them. I just could not find anything in this book that would engage, amuse, entertain, or even interest me at all.
It may be that the author tried too hard. It may be that the book just went over my head. Whatever.
The one unforgivable effect that this book had on me was it bored me stiff.

But at least I can count it towards my Around the World reading project. ( )
1 vota BrokenTune | May 30, 2021 |
Flights is a collection of 116 vignettes, some of them exceedingly brief, while others are short stories. They all focus on a theme of travel and are narrated by a nameless woman who practices an old Orthodox Christian belief of constant movement to avoid evil. There's a lot of variety in the vignettes ranging from contemporary stories to historical fiction. In addition to the theme of travel, with a focus on travel psychology, there is also a reoccurrence of the theme of anatomy and dissection. This is a weird and wonderful book, although I did struggle mightily to keep up with the fragmentary narrative. ( )
1 vota Othemts | Feb 1, 2021 |
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» Afegeix-hi altres autors (39 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Olga Tokarczukautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Croft, JenniferTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Kinsky, EstherTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Rema MenonTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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A seventeenth-century Dutch anatomist discovers the Achilles tendon by dissecting his own amputated leg. Chopin's heart is carried back to Warsaw in secret by his adoring sister. A woman must return to her native Poland in order to poison her terminally ill high school sweetheart, and a young man slowly descends into madness when his wife and child mysteriously vanish during a vacation and just as suddenly reappear. Through these brilliantly imagined characters and stories, interwoven with haunting, playful, and revelatory meditations, Flights explores what it means to be a traveler, a wanderer, a body in motion not only through space but through time. Where are you from? Where are you coming in from? Where are you going? we call to the traveler. Enchanting, unsettling, and wholly original, Flights is a master storyteller's answer.

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