In connection with Olga Tokarczuk received Poland’s finest literature prize – Nike Prize – she became the target of Polish nationalists hate when she live TV urged Poles to come to terms with its history: We have were slave owners and we have murdered Jews, she said, among other things. Such is not said in Poland today without encountering bad blood. Her latest book “James books” – which sold hundreds of thousands of copies in Poland – is a mastondontroman of the Jewish revival movement frank Semitism during the 1700s. Goran Sommardal reading.
When faced with the task of reading a novel of 983 pages, numbered in reverse, divided into seven books, from the mist to the names’ book , further grouped into 32 major chapters and countless subdivisions, including the “Residual Notes”, which here and there inserted to add the finishing touch with a further misleading flavors.
If the story conveyed in the novel, moreover, the supposedly true story of a jew revival movement that emerged in the 1700s in the real Poland, and the part of the then eastern Poland, which now belongs to Ukraine, the reader had to ask the question, if he is really capable of in a reasonable way to assess what he has read.
Should not he have read one of the books devoted to Jakub Frank and Frank Semitism, perhaps even nedteckningarna of revival leader’s own words, or he should at least have seen Adrian Paneks movie from 2011?
Or, visited the Black Madonna in Czestochowa? Before?
Now chose this reader instead of pretending that it’s raining just let themselves fall down and inaugurate in the sea of events that follows the main characters had come out of the real Poland, the Ottoman Levant, later to Iwanie – a community village beside the river Dnestre, later to settle down in the well, known as Brno.
In between the long captivity in the monastery in Czestochowa and frequent trips to Lwów, Warsaw, Vienna and Constantinople.
All of it over with at the beginning of the 18th century until the beginning of the 19th.
What happens to the reader during the reading of this chronicle about Jakub Frank, born Jakub Lejbowicz, the course of events sometimes called the Lord consists not least in the presence of an irresistible urge to rub your eyes to see clearly the theological power and the religious intricacies of the discussion about God, the Bible, Christ, the Trinity, The downfall and eternal life, and not least the question whether the message of the cabalistic writing the Zohar would be compatible with the spirit of the Catholic Church’s view of the world’s major ingredients.
A mudskipper possibly allow themselves to conclude with the teacher Baal Shem tov in Międzyboż statement about man’s ambiguous relationship with evil: “The secret of evil is the only thing that God commands us to believe, but to ponder . ”
What mainly happens during the reading is that the view of the members of the faithful, which was the name of the Jewish anti-Talmudic riders who were baptized and convert to Catholic doctrine, as time change, their relationships strengthened and complicated, they change names and places of stay, they change professions and social effects, is the creation of a revolving stage where different stories casts a shifting light over the sect leader Frank, sacred and cult really cheating with a multitude of sect girls and wives, and the other people around him.
The plot moves forward not only by the omnipotent narrator but also Jenta, Jakub’s almost dead grandmother, whose body – increasingly crystallized – have been brought to a cave, where she joined with the winds and become capable to see people’s thoughts – it also contributes to the perspective changes.
In addition, the pen is sometimes of Jakub’s childhood friend Nachman, a rabbi from Busk, later surnamed Jakubowski, Jakub memorial. It will ultimately not be the case the richness, even if it takes the largest space in the text, which form the essence of Jacob books, but the time lag that lasts for storytelling.
And that is really not the characters and their turn of mind that deepens, or the story itself as refined – Tokarczuk remain, as usual, at a respectful distance in a final review of his novel characters.
Nor is it history’s secret denser, rather dispelled the mist, mysteries materialize, actual mythological air cleared. Miracles was just a way to keep your attention there.
Olga Tokarczuks first book in Swedish was the short story collection “Betting on many small drums,” and her subsequent books, like “Old Ancient and other times”, “Daghus, natthus” and “runners” novels as they were , could be said to be “games of many large drums”. And then “James books” games on the largest drum.
And so great is that not until I’ve finished the book and immediately start reading from the beginning, first with the covered läsvägen I will be able to really discern what it is all about.