This essay argues for the power of free indirect discourse in the third‐person narrative perspective to serve as a collective voice, encompassing a diversity of perspectives, through a reading of two novels by Olga Tokarczuk, Bieguni (Flights) and Księgi Jakubowe (Books of Jacob). Both novels investigate the challenges inherent in the project of providing an image of the world, and alongside various interventions on the level of content, each examines the kind of world‐image that different approaches to narrative voice can produce. In Flights, the narrator's striving to arrive at a more expansive and synthetic knowledge of the world is accompanied by an effort to go beyond the first‐person voice, to a broader perspective. The novel subtly demonstrates the impossibility of such efforts, but, the essay argues, Books of Jacob continues this project, albeit from the opposite direction, examining the affordances of the third‐person voice. Its innovative use of free indirect discourse produces a perspective that, while appearing to be a single voice, contains multiple, contradictory points of view.
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Research Article| April 01 2021
Two Paths for the Big Book: Olga Tokarczuk's Shifting Voice
Genre (2021) 54 (1): 67–87.
Katarzyna Bartoszyńska; Two Paths for the Big Book: Olga Tokarczuk's Shifting Voice. Genre 1 April 2021; 54 (1): 67–87. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00166928-8911511
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