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