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Flights

Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
4 out of 5 stars (85 ratings)
Regular price: $31.50
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Publisher's Summary

2018 National Book Award Finalist for Translated Literature

Winner of the Man Booker International Prize

Named a Best Book of 2018 by Entertainment Weekly, The Washington Post, Boston Globe, LitHub, and Publishers Weekly

Short-listed for the 2018 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation

A visionary work of fiction by "a writer on the level of W. G. Sebald" (Annie Proulx)

"A magnificent writer." (Svetlana Alexievich, Nobel Prize-winning author of Secondhand Time)

"A beautifully fragmented look at man's longing for permanence.... Ambitious and complex." (Washington Post)

From the incomparably original Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk, Flights interweaves reflections on travel with an in-depth exploration of the human body, broaching life, death, motion, and migration. 

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.

©2018 Olga Tokarczuk; translation Jennifer Croft (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"What’s in a novel? This Man Booker International Prize winner reads like a rigorous response to that question in the best, most edifying (and maddening) way…Magnificently translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft, Flights has the scattered intimate quality of a personal diary, its magic wedded to its singularity. It’s an unexpected, funny journey into that most elusive of places - the human condition." (Entertainment Weekly)

“A revelation … Flights is a witty, imaginative, hard-to-classify work that is in the broadest sense about travel…. In this risky, restlessly mercurial book, Tokarczuk has found a way of turning…philosophy into writing that doesn't just take flight but soars.” (NPR’s “Fresh Air”)

“A beautifully fragmented look at man’s longing for permanence...ambitious and complex.” (Washington Post)

“It’s a busy, beautiful vexation, this novel, a quiver full of fables of pilgrims and pilgrimages, and the reasons - the hidden, the brave, the foolhardy - we venture forth into the world …In Jennifer Croft’s assured translation, each self-enclosed account is tightly conceived and elegantly modulated, the language balletic, unforced.” (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Curious and beautifully written

The author's style has been described as a constellation, and I see now how accurate that is. Some chapters are short, some are long .Some stories intertwine, some story lines are never revisited.
Bu the writing, or the translation, is so gorgeous and visual. At times I get lost in the prose or the poetry of it and it happily distracts me from the fact that I don't know where this story is going.
But the theme is movement, and the book accomplishes movement in the way it skips, the way it flows, and the way she writes. I enjoyed it so much.
My only gripe would be that Julia reads every character in the same tone. Consistency is good, but there were times I did not even realize we had jumped from the stories/words of a woman to that of a man.
Since some chapters are only a sentence long, pay attention :)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What an incredible experience!

Excellent book, excellent translation, excellent performance. A truly memorable experience. I would strongly recommend it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

hard to follow

hard to follow, but intriguing. it left me with a haunting new understanding of life. we are given a choice as to how to see life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Novel storytelling - Zero motivation to finish

Our work book club chose this book to read. Everyone liked the individual stories. The author is very talented at story-telling, and you will be drawn in quickly and completely, but the lack of resolution is frustrating. This has been noted in other reviews. One of our group liked that aspect as being more realistic to life, but most felt demotivated to finish the book. Begin at your own risk.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Boring

I stopped and tried to get back to it several times, hoping to be able to finish the book. I’m halfway through and will not continue it. Way too descriptive, the stories do not have enough depth to grasp interest from the reader/listener and the narration only makes it worse, almost putting you to sleep. Not good at all.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Difficult to follow

I think this book would be a great read, but unfortunatelly it was difficult to follow as an audiobook.. It wasn't always clear when one story ends, and other starts, especially with the very short ones.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Dissapointing

Maybe better as a read but as an audio book it is all over the place and wandering. Maybe if I can manage to get through the whole think it will come together in the end but for now a couple of hours in - whoa. What a rambler with so far no redeeming qualities.