Why is it that the romance languages are so agreeable? Because they sound like a singing melody compared with other languages that could sound dry as an autumn leaf. It is the vocals, the ones we found so abundantly in romance tongues, as if they were fruits swimming in a colourful salad. They fill every word up to the top, by softening the rudeness and aggressiveness of the consonants. Romance languages have dignity. They would never allow two consonants in a word without a vocal guiding them, telling them what to do. And this is how all the brutal force gets to be mitigated by this syrup that intoxicate of those who listen to it.
This book fell in my hands after Bill Gates recommended it as one of his favourite summer readings. At the beginning I thought it was a Spy’s thriller (one of my favourite genres) and that is why I ran out to buy it.
There is this shock when you realize that even before opening a book you have had a misconception. A Gentleman in Moscow was not about spies. Yes, you could feel them breathing in the main character’s neck from time to time but the story is not typical. As I was expecting the usual spy thriller, the book seemed slow and calm at the beginning. It was good that I decided to go up to the end, otherwise I would have missed a wonderful piece of literature.
Olga Tokarczuk does not need an introduction. Well, she is from Poland, Nobel Literature Prize 2018. That’s it. She has won several literature prices before. I understand why. She writes as if she were rolling over sentences in a beautiful song and each one of those sentences are attached to one another in perfection. But it was not this what left me with an open mouth. After several days and weeks of finishing ‘Flights’ my head is still spinning trying to guess how was she capable of put such simple stories, that could happen to anyone, in paper. Some of us have lived those stories, or at least one of the stories (exploration of the human body, migration, travel, languages, romance, life and death), but none of us would have been capable of telling them in such a sublime way.