Book of the Week: The Lost Soul

By Caroline O'Connor | March 4 2021 | AdultsGeneralAllBlog

“Once upon a time there was a man who worked very hard and very quickly, and who had left his soul far behind him long ago. In fact his life was all right without his soul–he slept, ate, worked, drove a car and even played tennis. But sometimes he felt as if the world around him were flat, as if he were moving across a smooth page in a math book that was covered in evenly spaced squares…”

–from The Lost Soul

The Lost Soul by Olga Tokarczuk, Illustrated by Joanna Concejo, and Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones is the only book in English for readers of all ages by Nobel Prize-winning novelist Olga Tokarczuk. It is a deeply moving reflection on our capacity to live in peace with ourselves, to remain patient, attentive to the world. It is a story that beautifully weaves together the voice of Tokarczuk and the finely detailed pen-and-ink drawings of Concejo, who together create a parallel narrative universe full of secrets, evocative of another time. Here a man has forgotten what makes his heart feel full. He moves to a house away from all that is familiar to him to wait for his soul to return.

The Lost Soul is a sublime album, a rare delicacy that will delight readers young and old.


“The philosophical subject of this book—the whole question of the soul—is investigated through illustrations that exude a sense of peace and mindfulness. Artist Joanna Concejo depicts the melancholy and joy evoked by memory with fine lines and precise drawings.” —from the verdict of the jury Bologna Ragazzi Award 2018
“This recipe for the quiet life of home is an anodyne for the feelings of stress, insecurity, angst and loss that today afflict most of us. Even imagining the fairy tale ‘small cottage at the edge of the city’ will soothe readers and their listeners. The tender illustrations offer fine details that sink deep into the memory.” —Annie Proulx, author of The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain
“Olga Tokarczuk’s simple words and Joanna Concejo’s tender images tell a story we need to hear and see now in our brutal present—the parable of a soul lost and found.” —Siri Hustvedt, author of Memories of the Future

“The Lost Soul is a treasure. Tokarczuk and Concejo offer their readers another way to see the velocity of days, the grace in waiting, and time itself. Turning Concejo’s pages of wonderful drawings gave me a much-needed pause, and a reassuring perspective on loss, patience, and reward.” —Leanne Shapton, author of Guestbook




More by Olga Tokarczuk…

The Lost Soul
The only book in English for readers of all ages by Nobel Prize-winning novelist Olga Tokarczuk is a beautifully illustrated meditation on the fullness of life.
$22.95 US
Feb 23, 2021
7-3/4 x 10-1/2
48 Pages
Seven Stories Press

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
A Novel
Brilliantly inventive noir from the winner of the Man Booker International Prize.
$18.00 US
Aug 11, 2020
5-1/8 x 8
288 Pages
Riverhead Books

Nobel Prize and Booker Prize Winner
2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD SHORTLIST FOR TRANSLATED LITERATUREWINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZEAS FEATURED IN THE NEW YORK TIMESFrom the internationally acclaimed author of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, a visionary work of fiction with "echoes of Sebald [and] Kundera . . . [There's] no better travel companion in these turbulent, fanatical times" (The Guardian).
$18.00 US
Aug 13, 2019
5-1/8 x 8
416 Pages
Riverhead Books