Olga Tokarczuk's portrayal of Enlightenment Europe on the cusp of precipitous change, searching for certainty and longing for transcendence. Translated by Jennifer Croft.

In the mid-18th century, as new ideas begin to sweep the continent, a young Jew of mysterious origins arrives in a village in Poland. Before long, he has changed not only his name but his persona; visited by what seem to be ecstatic experiences, Jacob Frank casts a charismatic spell that attracts an increasingly fervent following.

In the decade to come, Frank will traverse the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires as he reinvents himself again and again. He converts to Islam and then Catholicism, is pilloried as a heretic and revered as the Messiah, and wreaks havoc on the conventional order with scandalous rumours of his sect’s secret rituals and the spread of his increasingly iconoclastic beliefs.

Shortlisted
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Olga Tokarczuk

Olga Tokarczuk

About the Author

Olga Nawoja Tokarczuk is a Polish writer and activist, and one of the most critically acclaimed and successful authors of her generation in Poland.
More about Olga Tokarczuk
Jennifer Croft

Jennifer Croft

About the Translator

Jennifer Croft is an American author, critic and translator who works from Polish, Ukrainian and Argentine Spanish.
More about Jennifer Croft

Other nominated books by Olga Tokarczuk

Flights
Prize winner

Other nominated books by Jennifer Croft

Flights
Prize winner