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Primeval and Other Times

Fiction. Central European Studies. Translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones. Tokarczuk's third novel, PRIMEVAL AND OTHER TIMES was awarded the Polityka Passport Prize in 1996 and the Koscielski Prize in 1997, which established the author as a leading voice in Polish letters. It is set in the mythical village of Primeval in the heart of Poland, which is populated by eccentric, archetypal characters. The village, a microcosm of the world, is guarded by four archangels, from whose perspective the novel chronicles the lives of Primeval's inhabitants over the course of the feral 20th century. In prose that is forceful and direct, the narrative follows Poland's tortured political history from 1914 to the present and the episodic violence that is visited on ordinary village life. Yet this is also a novel of universal dimension that does not dwell on the parochial. A stylized fable as well as epic allegory about the inexorable grind of time, the clash between modernity (the masculine) and nature (the feminine), it has been hailed across Europe as a contemporary classic.
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