**Winner of the 50th Anniversary Golden Man Booker Prize**
A beautiful new limited edition paperback of The English Patient, published as part of the Bloomsbury Modern Classics list
A small cargo plane will come down to land, slipping from the level of the horizon. It tips its wings within desert light and then sound stops, it drifts to earth.The final curtain is closing on the Second World War and in an abandoned Italian villa Hana, a nurse, tends to her sole remaining patient. Rescued from a burning plane, the anonymous Englishman is damaged beyond recognition and haunted by painful memories.
The only clue Hana has to unlocking his past is the one thing he clung on to through the fire - a copy of The Histories by Herodotus, covered with hand-written notes detailing a tragic love affair.
Flights is a series of imaginative and mesmerising meditations on travel in all its forms, not only the philosophy and meaning of travel, but also fascinating anecdotes that take us out of ourselves, and back to ourselves.
Olga Tokarczuk brilliantly connects travel with spellbinding anecdotes about anatomy, about life and death, about the very nature of humankind. Thrilling characters and stories abound- the Russian sect who escape the devil by remaining constantly in motion; the anatomist Verheyen who writes letters to his amputated leg; the story of Chopin's heart as it makes its journey from Paris to Warsaw, stored in a tightly sealed jar beneath his sister's skirt; the quest of a Polish woman who emigrated to New Zealand as a teen but must now return in order to poison her terminally ill high-school sweetheart
You will never read anything like this extraordinary, utterly original, mind-expanding book. Many consider Tokarczuk to be the most important Polish writer of her generation and Flights is one of those rare books that seems to conjure life itself out of the air.
Staff Review: Writing a decent novel isn't easy. It's so difficult, in fact, that you'd have to have gone completely mad to seriously attempt it. This is why, for so long, I've been very jealous of George Saunders. This guy started his writing career later in life than most, got work published in America's premier magazines, put out one of the best collections of short fiction I've ever read, got awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (half a million US dollars with virtually no strings attached), and went on for two decades writing only short stories, novellas and essays to much critical success. How does an author do so well in life all the while avoiding that terrible tumult that is writing a novel? The only way to find out is to see the quality of his work for yourself. If you haven't already, go and get a copy of both Civilwarland in Bad Decline and The Tenth of December. They're simply amazing.
When it was announced that George, perhaps suffering the doldrums of his own success, had decided to subject himself to the catastrophic pain of writing a novel, I leaped for joy. This was because I knew that in this, his first novel, we'd get to witness a well-seasoned and truly inventive writer engaging with the conventions of the form for the first time. I don't think anyone had any idea of what to expect, we all just hoped that it wouldn't be awful.
Lincoln in the Bardo is not awful.It's fantastic. It's an intensive study of how we grapple with death based on the true events of one night during the worst period of the American Civil War. President Lincoln, grieving the loss of his eleven-year-old son to a violent fever, went into the cemetery where he was earlier laid to rest and cradled the dead child in his arms. This haunting and deeply human moment from history retold by George in the most haunting and human of ways. The narrative is built up on the first person accounts of an endless expanse of characters, plenty of them are verbatim historical accounts, plenty of them a fictional accounts, and the bulk of those are ghosts.
This ambitious project makes for a strange and challenging read but when these cacophonous voices join together in a kind of chorus, the story comes alive for the reader and you are hurtled through pages completely absorbed. Lincoln In The Bardo is acutely observed, deeply thoughtful, moving and funny. It's unlike anything I've read before. Open it up and you'll be delighted.