Anna Badkhen is the author of six books, most recently Fisherman’s Blues. She is a 2017–2018 writer in residence at the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. (December 2018)

NYR DAILY

The View from 35,000 Feet

Enroute from London to Melbourne, 2002

The travel I witness is often forced: exodus, the tribulation of exile, flight from violence or famine. I have spent my life documenting the world’s iniquities, and my own panopticon of brokenness comprises genocide and mass starvation, loved ones I have lost to war, friends’ children who died of preventable diseases. For nearly each elegant vignette I read in Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights, my world seemed to proffer an evil twin, until the looking glass of the novel became akin to a funhouse mirror: the book smoothed away much of the wretchedness I know.