And I thought of myself too, of my foot, and of Oddball’s thin, wiry body; it seemed shot through with appalling sorrow, quite unbearable. As I gazed at the black-and-white landscape of the plateau I realized that sorrow is an important word for defining the world. It lies at the foundations of everything, it is the fifth element, the quintessence.

– From Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones. Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2018.