10 comments on “Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk | Book Review

  1. Excellent review! As you know I liked this a bit better than you did, but as I was saying before, it’s not the kind of book that’s going to make any of my all-time favorites lists. I just found it very stylistically impressive. Your comment about ditching the mystery framework was interesting – I actually didn’t think the reveal was obvious (embarrassing given how many mystery/thrillers I read, lol), it was kind of like… I suspected it but I didn’t think it was a given, and I liked the uncertainty?

    • Thank you! Maybe the success of the novel hinges on whether you predict the reveal or not? I think because I saw it coming from the off, I was left expecting more, as though she was going to catch me off guard at the last moment with something else. It’s still a great book though; well worth it for the prose, themes, and narrative voice.

  2. I agree, it is annoying when you can predict the whodunnit from the beginning. It rarely happens to me though, so perhaps I would be alright with this one 😉

    With the best stories in the mystery genre, I find that the mystery itself is not key, the characters and their development are just as important and I can even live with a mediocre plot if characters and setting are sufficiently interesting. Doesn’t sound like this is the case here, though.

    • I think the slight issue I had here was that the mystery framing felt unnecessary. The lead character and themes being explored were enough to sustain interest without attempting to turn it into a whodunnit. It’s a literary character study far more than it is a thriller/crime novel.

  3. Great review! I completely agree with your criticisms about not needing to frame the story as a mystery, and the excessive astrology jargon. I loved the narrator’s voice enough that this was still a 4-star for me regardless, but I didn’t entirely guess the mystery- I thought the whodunnit was obvious (which did make the explanation of events at the end feel drawn-out) though I didn’t see the why beforehand. Even so, the clear standout here is the narrator and her unique perspective, and I wish Tokarczuk would have ditched the mystery element to simply explore her character more deeply.
    But I’m glad you enjoyed at least some aspects of this book!

    • Thank you! Yes, I remembered your review as I was reading the book and found myself nodding along with your critique. I really wish the author hadn’t bothered with the mystery aspect; the narrative voice was so interesting, and I would have loved to delve that little bit deeper into her psyche.

  4. Great review! I think this is a book that benefits from very little previous knowledge. I was fortunate to read it as an ARC and I think that helped my feelings about it. I didn’t read it as a mystery or thriller so the weaknesses in that part didn’t bug me but I could see how they would if I read it now.

    • Thank you! Yes, that’s a good point. I suspect its the kind of book that’s success depends on the expectations the reader has going in. I would certainly try more of the author’s work!

  5. Pingback: December Wrap Up | Callum McLaughlin

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