Join us on Saturday, March 5 at 12pm PT when Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk and Man Booker winning translator Jennifer Croft are joined by Michael Holtmann to celebrate the release of The Books of Jacob on Zoom!
Presented in proud partnership with Point Reyes Books and Center for the Art of Translation
Praise for The Books of Jacob
“As crowded as a Bruegel painting…visionary…. Tokarczuk is wrestling with the biggest philosophical themes: the purpose of life on earth, the nature of religion, the possibility of redemption, the fraught and terrible history of eastern European Jewry…. A landmark.” –The Guardian
“A kind of literary miracle.” –The Times (UK)
“Nobel laureate Tokarczuk’s magnum opus…. With language that’s engaging, erudite, and spiced with witty colloquialisms and wonderful turns of phrase via Jennifer Croft’s supple translation, Tokarczuk explores the state of being an outsider in places with fixed cultural boundaries…. A wealth of fine quotidian detail and brilliantly connected narrative threads draw the reader in…. masterful.” –Booklist (starred review)
About The Books of Jacob
The Nobel Prize-winner’s richest, most sweeping and ambitious novel yet follows the comet-like rise and fall of a mysterious, Messianic religious leader as he blazes his way across eighteenth-century Europe.
In the mid-eighteenth century, as new ideas—and a new unrest—begin to sweep the Continent, a young Jew of mysterious origins arrives in a village in Poland. Before long, he has changed not only his name but his persona; visited by what seem to be ecstatic experiences, Jacob Frank casts a charismatic spell that attracts an increasingly fervent following. In the decade to come, Frank will traverse the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires, throngs of disciples in his thrall as he reinvents himself again and again, converts to Islam and then Catholicism, is pilloried as a heretic and revered as the Messiah, and wreaks havoc on the conventional order, Jewish and Christian alike, with scandalous rumors of his sect’s secret rituals and the spread of his increasingly iconoclastic beliefs.
The story of Frank—a real historical figure around whom mystery and controversy swirl to this day—is the perfect canvas for the genius and unparalleled reach of Olga Tokarczuk. Narrated through the perspectives of his contemporaries—those who revere him, those who revile him, the friend who betrays him, the lone woman who sees him for what he is—The Books of Jacob captures a world on the cusp of precipitous change, searching for certainty and longing for transcendence.
About Olga Tokarczuk
Olga Tokarczuk is the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Man Booker International Prize, and many other honors, including her country’s highest, the Nike. She is the author of nine novels and two short story collections, and has been translated into more than forty languages. She lives in Poland.
About Jennifer Croft
Jennifer Croft was awarded the Man Booker International Prize in 2018 and a National Book Award Finalist for her translation from Polish of Olga Tokarczuk’s FLIGHTS. She is the recipient of Fulbright, PEN, MacDowell, and National Endowment for the Arts grants and fellowships, as well as the inaugural Michael Henry Heim Prize for Translation and a Tin House Workshop Scholarship for her memoir HOMESICK. She holds a PhD from Northwestern University and an MFA from the University of Iowa. She is a founding editor of The Buenos Aires Review and has published her own work and numerous translations in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Granta, VICE, n+1, Electric Literature, Lit Hub, BOMB, Guernica, The New Republic, The Guardian, The Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere. She currently divides her time between Buenos Aires and Los Angeles.
About Michael Holtmann
Michael Holtmann is the Center for the Art of Translation's executive director and publisher. He has worked in the arts for more than fifteen years. Prior to joining the Center, he held positions at the National Endowment for the Arts and the Folger Shakespeare Library. He has served on the board of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) and the international programming committee of the Bay Area Book Festival.
A NEW YORKER “ESSENTIAL READ”
“Just as awe-inspiring as the Nobel judges claimed.” – The Washington Post
“Olga Tokarczuk is one of our greatest living fiction writers. . . This could well be a decade-defining book akin to Bolaño’s 2666.” –AV Club
WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE
WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST FOR TRANSLATED LITERATURE
A visionary work of fiction by "A writer on the level of W. G. Sebald" (Annie Proulx)
Winner of the 2020 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing
A Best Book of the Year at BuzzFeed and the Times Literary Supplement