The aim of the article is to examine the structure of Olga Tokarczuk’s novel Primeval and Other Times, her first major popular and critical success. To that end, the author’s method of combining elements of realism, fantasy, and the supernatural are analyzed. These are correlated with Tokarczuk’s views on literature, creativity, and the relations between the human mind and the universe expressed in her many direct statements, including in her Nobel Prize lecture, “The Tender Narrator.” The article describes the characteristic mixture of lyrical realism and fantasy through which Tokarczuk constructs the universe of the eponymous village of Primeval, which appears both as a typical Polish peasant community and as a mythical place that may be holding some elemental mystery. The study concludes that the real and the fabulous in the novel do not merge seamlessly into one hyper-reality that would enrich our reading experience, or change our perception of the tangible world. The lucid and sensitive treatment in the novel’s human narratives hardly benefits from the overload of put-on mystical or metaphysical elements. Tokarczuk’s mythical preoccupations, however, cannot be dismissed as mere narrative stratagems. They are rooted in the author’s beliefs in the “systems of mutual connections and influences” that permeate both the human and the natural world. The study concludes that Tokarczuk’s mythopoetic designs to express this sense of unity are not entirely successful, yet they produce literature of eclectic curiosity, imaginative daring, and earnest concern with moral challenges of today.

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