history, literature

Olga Tokarcuk, Nobel Prize and multicultural identities

I watched a wonderful interview with Olga Tokarczuk, the author of The Books of Jacob and winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature (Olga Tokarczuk & Julia Fiedorczuk | Księgi Jakubowe/The Books of Jacob).

It is wonderful for many reasons, but one is the reflections by both Olga Tokarczuk & Julia Fiedorczuk on the historical memory and trauma in Eastern and Central Europe of the experience of nationalism. There are many dimensions to this tragic experience, including the Holocaust, extreme nationalism in Germany and Eastern European States, including Poland, between the World Wars, and the complex impact of Communist ideology and power projection on the national experience of these countries. The wound of nationalism and the trauma of loss or nostalgia for a richer social experience.  Tokarczuk explains that one of the emotional drivers of The Books of Jacob is a nostalgia for this multi-ethnic, multi-cultural set of plural identities, which her generation were deprived of. It is a wonderful interview and a wonderful book, and I will be doing a podcast and video on Olga Tokarcuk and The Books of Jacob in a couple of weeks.

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