Spoor, the book

 A promotional image for "Spoor" the movie.


Before seeing “Spoor” a movie directed by Agnieszka Holland I dived into “Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead" by Olga Tokarczuk, the book that “Spoor” is the adaptation of.

The book is fantastic, beautiful prose (I hope translations can convey it) and also, if not mainly, because it paints an inner portrait of a very captivating, off beat character.   Janina is expressive, full of (unintended) poetry (the best kind), practitioner of astrology, a feisty environmentalist, defender of animal rights, outspoken, full of zest.  A fabulous character.   I was totally enchanted. 

As we enter her inner world the outer environment is rocked by a series of murders.   She claims animals are taking revenge on people who hunt them.  OK, this fits her profile to date. 

Then, in the last part of the tale it turns out that the killer is herself.  A very strange narrative move. First I am invited to the inner world of a main character and then I am told that the most important thing about that person has been totally hidden from me during the long time I was learning to love her.   Is it fair?

That feeling of disappointment is however turned around at the end of the novel.  The murderer, together with her friend moves into a different part of the country where she lives a quiet, anonymous life.  Nobody knows about her murders there, so in some weird way the narrative loops back and justifies our lack of knowledge about her real inner life in the first part of the story.  

This is a very challenging and unorthodox construction.  I am not sure if I buy it. But I wonder how the film will handle this problem.

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