Book Review: Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead

Saturday December 3rd 2022

Olga Tocarczuk: Nobel Prize winner and ace astrologer. Aquarian, of course, born in the year of a massive stellium in that sign. And she has the writer’s signature of Virgo Rising. In her case, that makes an exact conjunction to Pluto, the truthiest. No wonder the Right in her country find her so hard to deal with!

If you haven’t read eco-thriller Drive Your Plough (or Plow) yet, you are in for a treat. I asked my friend Heather, astrologer & playwright. to review it briefly.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk.

At last a great story which dares to touch on astrology.  Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead is intriguing and innovative. but never condescending or apologetic.  And the astrological references within it are totally accurate.  Olga Tokarczuk knows her stuff.

The central character is an independent, older Polish woman who is drawn into investigating inexplicable crimes of passion.  It’s not an easy ready – let’s not forget the author is a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature – but it is well worth the effort.  As thrillers go, it is quite unorthodox.  Set in dense mountainous countryside, nature and the elements set the scene for strange encounters and stranger events.  It is beautifully written with real compassion and just enough astrology to excite believers and not alienate the scientists and the sceptics.  Natal charts are referenced to shed light on individuals and their actions. This is fiction but the astrological references are correct, and never in a way that feels didactic.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book although I confess the title on a shelf (from a poem by Blake) would have been daunting had I not been given a copy by a friend. 

Heather Dunmore is a prizewinning playwright. She is currently working on several projects — including one about grandparents denied access to their grandchildren. If you have any experience of this from any side (denier or denied), she would like to hear from you. You can listen to her play Revisiting The Trap Grounds here.

You can get the book by clicking on the image below.

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  1. Jem says:

    An absolute gem of a book, love her storytelling of the everyday, humdrum seems so magically alive. I’m from the UK, living in Poland and really enjoyed this book. Punchy and direct, but with wonderfully touching characters and a great ending. Despite all the obvious clues I didn’t work out the whodunnit. I think I was carried away and distracted on all the ‘sideroads’ of interesting substories that Tocarczuk leads you down. The title of the book is so ‘Tokarczuk’, it’s meant to make you take a double turn. Highly recommend it.

  2. Nicola says:

    Thank you for this review, now I have something to ask for as a Christmas present 😉 . How can I get into contact with Heather Dunmore per e-mail, via Cowley Road Works? Thanks again and keep up the good work