"It is not so much a novel as a collection of linked short narratives, found stories, hagiography and incidental observations and is a delight to read - wonderfully inventive and by turns comic, tragic and wise." -Philip Marsden This collective of local mythologies, cosmogenies, mushroom relativity and recipes is simple and unadorned. To be frank and borrow from Shakespeare, it's "much ado about nothing." But in that nothing, there is something beneath its surface especially if you read against the grain and escape that position of the ideal reader. "If I weren't a person, I'd be a mushroom." A peculiar theme in this book is the notion of the mushroom and it's lifecyle and toxicities; from my reading experience, it has a capacity to baffle the human mind. Aside from living on dead things, the mushroom makes no distinction between day and night. At dawn and dusk, when everything else is preoccupied with waking up or falling asleep, the mushroom is secretly growing... "...I'd be murky and sinister, ever silent, and with my creeping mushroomy fingers I would suck the last drop of sunlight out of them...I would have the same capacity as all mushrooms to hide myself from humans by confusing their timid minds. Mushrooms are hypnotists; they were given this property instead of clawes, fast legs, teeth and intelligence....For hours I would keep perfectly still on purpose, neither gowing nor ageing, until I had reached the icy conviction that I have power not only over people, but also over time. I would ony grow at the most important nonebts if the day and night--at dawn and at dusk, when everhting selse is busy waking up or falling asleep...I would feel no fear, I would never be afraid of death. What is death, I would think--the only thing they can do to you is to tear you from the ground, slice you up, cook you and eat you." 'On Being a Mushroom', House of Day, House of Night. This book is not as loopy/perplex as it sounds! Apart from random inserts, for instance there's one short chapter called "Mismancy", the real object of this novel is centered on the interior lives of the locals in south-west Poland, in Nowa Ruda. Tokarczuk's most successful stories are the quick, despondent portraits that help make up the local "folktales". Marek Marek is an alcoholic, shares his body with a terrified bird, and after a few botched attempts, he hangs himself. Franz Frost's nightmares due to the formation of a newly-discovered planet drives him to carve a hat from ash wood in order to protect himself; come the war, his helmet proves unsuccessful and Mr. Frost is killed. But my favourite story is that of Krysia in the chapter "Amos" (if you want to read the chapter, i've attached the link to Amos' name. I promise, it's worth your time and printing paper if you decide to print it out!). I'm not going to give anything away about her tale, but its an unusual and charming story that demonstrates the author's creativity and views on life: live it.