The Lost Soul (Hardcover)
On Our Shelves Now! When you order, we'll contact you to confirm when we have it reserved for you.
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.
"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 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 the Nobel Prize-winning Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk and the finely detailed pen-and-ink drawings of illustrator Joanna 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.
"You must find a place of your own, sit there quietly and wait for your soul."
Winner of the Bologna Ragazzi Award, Special Mention 2018, Prix de l'Union Internationale pour les Livres de Jeunesse (IBBY), The White Raven (IJB Munich), and the Łódź Design Festival Award.
About the Author
Olga Tokarczuk (1962-) is an activist, public intellectual, and one of Poland's most highly regarded writers. She is winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature (given in 2019). In 2018 she won The International Man Booker Award for her novel, Flights (translated by Jennifer Croft), and twice (2009, 2015) won Poland's highest literary honor, the Nike (and the Nike Readers' Prize) as well as other prestigious literary awards. Her 2009 novel Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead (translated into English by Antonia Lloyd-Jones), was shortlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize. Tokarczuk is the author of eight novels and two short story collections. The Lost Soul, the first book by Tokarczuk written for both children and adults was awarded a special mention of the Bologna Ragazzi Award in 2018. Tokarczuk's work has been translated into a dozen languages. She lives in Wroclaw, Poland.
Illustrator Joanna Concejo (1971-) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland. Her work has been exhibited in salons and exhibitions France, South Korea, Portugal, and the Bologna Children's International Book Fair where her work won a Bologna Ragazzi Award Mention, and many other places. She is author and illustrator of books published in Poland, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and South Korea. In 2013 she was Winner of the IBBY Book of Year for graphic design (for Książę w cukierni / Prince in a pastry shop, Format Editions), and in 2018 received a Mention/Fiction (for Zgubiona dusza / The Lost Soul). She lives outside of Paris, France. Translator Antonia Lloyd-Jones has translated works by several of Poland's leading contemporary novelists and reportage authors, as well as crime fiction, poetry, and children's books. Her translation of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by 2018 Nobel Prize laureate Olga Tokarczuk was shortlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize. She is a mentor for the Emerging Translators' Mentorship Programme, and former co-chair of the UK Translators Association.
"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
"Nobel Prize–winning Polish novelist Tokarczuk (Flights) teams up with artist Concejo for an elegant, meditative parable about isolation and redemption. The minimal text opens with “Once upon a time” and describes John, a workaholic businessman in existential crisis who feels “as if the world around him were flat, as if he were moving across a smooth page in a math exercise book, entirely covered in evenly spaced squares.” As he loses all sense of identity, a wise doctor diagnoses his spiritual malaise: “The world is full of people running about in a hurry... and their lost souls always left behind.” John decides to cease his frantic lifestyle in the hope that he and his soul can reunite. Tokarczuk’s poetic sensibility matches perfectly with Concejo’s hushed, evocative drawings, which comment abstractedly on the story, depicting humans in Hopper-esque isolation from each other and the natural world, until they eventually interact and integrate. As they do, the monochromatic pencils gradually incorporate rich hues of green and orange, representing life again in balance. This sincere collaboration invites readers to reflect upon existential themes on their own terms. It’s a soothing balm for tense, jagged times." --Publishers Weekly
"A collaboration between two masters, one a writer and the other an artist. It’s the story of a man who feels his life has lost meaning, and we follow his voyage through a mysterious and haunting inner world.” —Lydia McOscar, Brookline Booksmith