Book Review: Flights by Olga Tokarczuk

Book Review: Flights by Olga Tokarczuk

Genre: Fiction, essay, creative non-fiction, travel.

Publisher: Text Publishing

Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk won the Man Booker International Prize for this novel in 2018 along with a Nike Award, Poland’s highest literary honour. Tokarczuk is a thrilling and exhilarating writer who effortlessly criss-crosses genres and conventions, Flight is part essay, creative non fiction, travel novel and much more.

Book Review: Flights by Olga Tokarczuk

In essence, one becomes what one participates in. In other words, I am what I look at.”

― Olga Tokarczuk, Flights

This quirky, darkly funny and insightful book combines compelling short stories of wanderers and voyagers, with personal anecdotes and philosophical forays. Although this isn’t just another boring novel about a traveller undergoing a personal awakening. Instead, the reader is plunged into the depths of the psychology behind travel. What motivates people to constantly move and migrate? What makes us want to wander – moving towards and away from parts of our lives? There are plenty of odes to that bustling mecca of travel – the airport. You may come to some poignant realisations about yourself as well, if you are a travel-lover.

Book Review: Flights by Olga Tokarczuk

Clearly I did not inherit whatever gene it is that makes it so that when you linger in a place you start to put down roots. I’ve tried, a number of times, but my roots have always been shallow; the littlest breeze could always blow me right over. I don’t know how to germinate, I’m simply not in possession of that vegetable capacity. I can’t extract nutrition from the ground, I am the anti-Antaeus. My energy derives from movement—from the shuddering of buses, the rumble of planes, trains’ and ferries’ rocking.”

― Olga Tokarczuk, Flights

This book was interesting to read during the time of covid when all travel has ceased. This added a poignant and reflective dimension to reading it.

Book Review: Flights by Olga Tokarczuk

Standing there on the embankment, staring into the current, I realized that—in spite of all the risks involved—a thing in motion will always be better than a thing at rest; that change will always be a nobler thing than permanence; that that which is static will degenerate and decay, turn to ash, while that which is in motion is able to last for all eternity.”

― Olga Tokarczuk, Flights

Tokarczuk’s mission is far deeper than travel stories. Instead she delves into the deep contours of the human soul, heart and consciousness. There is abundant genius in her words and a sensitive, tender and almost voyeuristic way in how she writes about her fellow travellers.

What makes us most human is the possession of a unique and irreducible story, that takes place over time and leave behind our traces.”
― Olga Tokarczuk, Flights

Book Review: Flights by Olga Tokarczuk

Travel becomes a metaphor for life as a whole, in all of their exquisite joy and loneliness. Flights reminds me of another rambling epic: Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald. Just like Austerlitz, Flights is a haunting and unusual book that dares to go where not many other books dare to go, into the soul of the world. This is a bold and amazing book that defies genres and so becomes a genre all of its own.

Then you realize: night gives the world back its natural, original appearance, without suger-coating it; day is a flight of fancy, light a slight exception, an oversight, a disruption of the order. The world in fact is dark, almost black. Motionless and cold.” ― Olga Tokarczuk, Flights

Book Review: Flights by Olga Tokarczuk
Middle of Nowhere by Leland Foster

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves travel, philosophy, psychology and the intersection between all of these topics.

Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Flights by Olga Tokarczuk

    1. Oh you know this one Neri? That’s so cool I am so glad you loved it. Yeah it’s a book I will treasure forever too. Hope you are having a good weekend 🙂


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