This novel is driven by the voice and the personality of its narrator, Janina (who despises her name, bristles when anyone addresses her by it, and thinks perhaps her real name might be Medea.) She lives in a tiny, remote Polish village near the border of the Czech Republic--she enjoys crossing and re-crossing the border for the hell of it--among a scattering of other neighbors, each eccentric in their way. She presents herself to them as a curmudgeonly old lady, abrupt, unsociable and ill-dressed. But the inside of her mind is much better decorated: it's probably safe to say that she's the only one among the sparse local inhabitants who translates William Blake, or uses astrology not simply to predict the future, but to find maximum meaning in insignificant details. Which, of course, is what a good detective does. When one of her neighbors, whom she's nicknamed Big Foot, turns up dead in his hut, the first thing Janina does is find out his birth date and cast his horoscope. Don't expect a conventional murder mystery here; the focus is Janina's mind and where it goes (the reader frequently wonders if she's not actually as dotty as her neighbors think), her quirky compassion for living things, and her anger at their senseless destruction. That gulf between the first-person experience of self and the third person view of the self as public object is part of the point. Like Tokarczuk's acclaimed novel Flights, this one has a depth and meditative quality that in turn provokes a meditative mood in the reader; after having channeled Janina for 200 pages, one sees the world for awhile in sharper focus and more detail.