September 2020 Book Club Report: Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights

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September Translated Literature Book Club Meeting

We held our second book club meeting on 26 September 2020, Saturday, at The Book Cafe. The cafe was full when we arrived, but thankfully we got seats for five shortly after. The interior was serene and adorned with books, perfect for a book club meeting. We also had the privilege of a lengthy discussion as the café staff did not hurry us to leave.

Over ice cream and brownie, coffee, and smoothies, we dived into Flights by Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk, exchanging many thoughts we had about the novel even though four of us hadn’t finished reading the book. It was entirely understandable given the unusually fragmented structure of the novel; the one who had read it in its entirety a few years ago hadn’t succeeded on her first attempt.

Here are the open-ended questions on Flights which we had discussed:

  • Our first impressions of the novel

  • What is the effect of the book’s format on how we read it?

  • Why do you think the author created a connection between travel and anatomy? Do you think she succeeded in creating a connection between the two?

  • What is your favourite scene, quote, chapter in the book?

The five of us generally enjoyed reading Flights, as we could relate to several reflections that Tokarczuk had on travelling, history, and the human psyche. It is interesting that the same stories that seemed absurd and grotesque to a few came across as riveting and fascinating to others. This is perhaps one of the charms of attending a book club: to exchange insights and form a richer understanding of the book.

October Book Club Selection 

At the end of the meeting, we decided on the book for our book club meeting in October: Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from German by Susan Bernofsky. 

If you’d like to discuss Go, Went, Gone with us on the last Saturday of October, follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more details on our next book club meeting!

*Harriett Press’s Translated Literature Book Club is a monthly book club that meets to exchange thoughts on a translated book selected for the month. Anyone is welcome to join us!⁠ Find out more about book club meetings by following us on Facebook and Instagram!  


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