Drive your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Drive your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Book - 2019 | First American edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:

"A brilliant literary murder mystery." -- Chicago Tribune

"Extraordinary. Tokarczuk's novel is funny, vivid, dangerous, and disturbing, and it raises some fierce questions about human behavior. My sincere admiration for her brilliant work." --Annie Proulx

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 inserts herself into the investigation, certain that she knows whodunit. If only anyone would pay her mind . . .

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. Whom do we deem sane? it asks. Who is worthy of a voice?
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2019.
Edition: First American edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780525541332
Branch Call Number: TOK
Characteristics: 274 pages
Additional Contributors: Lloyd-Jones, Antonia


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Oct 05, 2020

Sort of a fable, sort of a murder mystery, sort of a small town drama. The author also wrote "Flights" and won the Nobel Prize. Great title.

Sep 11, 2020

Some good moments, but a bit far-fetched for a happy ending

Jul 12, 2020

Even though one has read the book (or not) I highly recommend the Polish film "Spoor," directed by the famous film director Agnieszka Holland, which is based on this book. Other than a slight additional plot line, it follows the book truthfully (except for all the astrology stuff) and is beautifully filmed.

Jul 08, 2020

Never got into this one and then when the interesting bit happens at the end I saw it coming and was unimpressed. Just couldn’t care about this.

Jun 29, 2020

Very good writing, great characters, wonderful imagination.

Enjoyable and at times profound. A portrait of one woman's humble life and her anger at the exploitation of our Earth's fellow creatures. There's an element of mystery here and the narrator's own unique perspective is at least half of the fun. I hope works like this contribute, in at least a small way, to help to change the culture around the world in terms of our treatment of other animals.

JCLFlanneryC Apr 03, 2020

I LOVE it when weird writers when big prizes, so kudos to Tokarczuk for winning the Nobel Prize! This is a slow paced, pseudo-mystery about a woman living in the middle of nowhere, studying the stars and translating poetry. It reminds me of Tove Jansson's "True Deceiver," and is much more invested in character and landscape than drama. If you can stand an atmospheric slow burn, you'll love "Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead."

Dec 16, 2019

This is one of the best books I’ve read in years. Brilliantly written, surprising plot, and moving rhetoric. I absolutely loved it.

Dec 07, 2019

I read Tokarczuk's book, Flight, and loved it. This one was not as good as that Flight, but I still liked it a lot. It tells the story of an older woman living in a small and remote village in Poland. She is into Astrology, and advocates for the rights of animals against the hunters in the area. She is looked down as crazy and useless by most people, but not all. She has a few friends, one whom she helps translate poems of Blake. Lines of poetry appear at the beginning of each chapter. People die in mysterious circumstances.

Nov 19, 2019

I loved this book! Started missing it as soon as I was done. Waiting to read her previous book now.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
Feb 12, 2020


Feb 12, 2020

Slow -- too literary for me.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number



Find it at EPL

To Top