First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
In a remote Polish village, Janina devotes the dark winter days to studying astrology, translating the poetry of William Blake, and taking care of the summer homes of wealthy Warsaw residents. Her reputation as a crank and a recluse is amplified by her not-so-secret preference for the company of animals over humans. Then a neighbor, Big Foot, turns up dead. Soon other bodies are discovered, in increasingly strange circumstances. As suspicions mount, Janina is certain she knows whodunit. A deeply satisfying thriller cum fairy tale, Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead is a provocative exploration of the murky borderland between sanity and madness, justice and tradition, autonomy and fate.
March was supposed to be dedicated for English writers. But then again, life throws odd curve balls which one is often unprepared for. So, from an English literature month, March is going to be a European literature month. This impasse somehow kind of reminded me what a fellow book blogger has mentioned about TBR lists. The unpredictability of one’s reading mood diverts what one initially has planned, thus, she avoids creating a TBR list.
With that being said, my current read is recent Nobel Prize in Literature winner Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead. The book also won the Man Booker International Prize so it seems that the book has some heft to it. Moreover, the book’s unusual and unique title is a sure bait for curious cats like me. Oh well.
I just bought the book yesterday and started reading it on the bus ride home; I didn’t want to waste time because Manila traffic can be very awful. The narrative immediately got to the heart of the action. No context. No background stories. Just direct to the point. Bits and pieces of backstories slowly reveal themselves as the primary character and main narrator flashes back to the past.
Janina, the primary character, has an unusual personality. She is a recluse but she has a keen sense of observation. She has a complex view of things but keeps things to herself. As one of the few women in a male-dominated community, who can blame her. There are some undercurrents of something different in Janina’s tone and voice. It’s barely palpable but one can surmise some tension just under the surface.
There is something unusual about Janiina. She refers to other people using nicknames. Things and animals were referred to as well as proper nouns, rather than common nouns. I guess that is the first layer of the story – the mystery. The tenterhook is keeping me at the edge of my seat; I am looking forward to resolving this mystery, both of the circumstances that are currently happening in the story and Janina’s back story as well.
As I’ve mentioned, it seems like Janina is one of the very rare females in her community. I can’t help but conclude that the story has undertones of feminism as well. On one scene, a motley crew asked her to lead the singing for the dead as she is “a woman”. The ratio of men to women characters is a giveaway as well. The things that are about to happen are keeping me at the edge of my seat. I might be inspired enough to finish reading the story today; it is rather short by my standard.
How to I think will the story develop? Inevitably, the mystery surrounding Janina and the events that has just happened will be solved. It will be solved in an unexpected manners and unusual details will surface, as most mysteries usually do. I am excited to see, or rather read, Tokarczuk’s spin on things. The story got off on such a good start that I started building very high hopes. I really hope that it carries on as well as it did at the start.
Happy weekend reading everyone!