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Primeval and Other Times

by Olga Tokarczuk

This story scoops you up and rushes you along on a journey through the twentieth century in eastern Europe. The village of Primeval is imaginary, so are its inhabitants and its petty and vengeful God, but they are also archetypes which force you to look again at the long sweep of history.

Extract

In the book entitled Ignis Fatuus, or an instructive game for one player, which is the instruction manual for the Game, the description of the Fourth World includes the following story.

God created the Fourth World in a passion that brought Him relief in His divine suffering.
When he created man, He came to his senses - such an impression did he make on Him. So He stopped creating the world any further - for could there have been anything more perfect? - and now, in His divine time, He admired His own work. The deeper God’s vision reached into the human inside, the more ardently God’s love for man intensified.
But man proved ungrateful - he was busy cultivating the land and begetting children, and took no notice of God. Then in His divine mind arose sorrow, from which darkness seeped.
Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones

Parallels

The Book of Clouds by Chloe Aridjis
Odin’s Island by Janne Teller
 

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