The Lost Soul

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Title: The Lost Soul (original title: Zgubiona Dusza

Writer: Olga Rokarczuk (translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Joanna Concejo)

Publishing House: Triangle Square

Date of Publication: February 23rd 2021 (first published October 26th 2017)

Rating: 5

‘’If someone could look down on us from above, they’d see that the world is full of people running about in a hurry, sweating and very tired and their lost souls always left behind, unable to keep up with their owners. The result is great confusion as the souls lose their heads and the people cease to have hearts. The souls know they’ve lost their owners, but most of the people don’t realise that they’ve lost their own souls.’’

Αlways, always in a hurry. Wake up, get ready, eat, walk. Drive, catch the train. Shop, socialise whether you like it or not. You have to. Talk. Don’t talk. Don’t be inactive. Don’t spend time alone. You will be branded a ‘’loner’’ and a ‘’weirdo’’.  Listen to the fashionable mottos dictated by social media. Don’t. Do. Do. Don’t.

And then we forget to listen to the voice of our soul. We pay so much attention to what the others tell us and we forget to think. We concern ourselves with the opinions of others and we don’t care what our own self thinks of us and our actions.

Olga Tokarczuk creates a beautiful fable about a young man who realises he has lost the only thing that really matters. His soul. So, he decides to withdraw from a society of empty words and loud demands. He decides to wait. He decides to spend the time to understand himself. Until the day a little girl appears outside his window and his garden starts growing again.

But where can we find our soul? Joanna Consejo’s moving illustrations are rather telling. In a snowy field, echoing with the laughter of children, in a cafe with a hot cup of coffee and a book, in a village funfair, in a train, gazing over the fields, dreaming. Far away from those who exploit everyone and everything.

Many thanks to Triangle Square and Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.