Olga Tokarczuk appeared on the literary scene in 1989 with the collection of poems entitled Miasta w lustrach (Cities in Mirrors) and with short stories published in the Na Przełaj magazine. However as her real debut is regarded an edition of the novel Podróż Ludzi Księgi (The Journey of the Book-People) for which she was awarded the Polish Publisher Association Prize for the best debut prose. Two years later she published the E.E. novel and in 1996 Prawiek i inne czasy (Primeval and Other Times) which became highly successful, won many prestigious awards and attracted a lot of attention among the critics. She published collections of short stories: Szafa (The Wardrobe) in 1997, Dom dzienny, dom nocny (House of Day, House of Night) in 1998 and Gra na wielu bębenkach (Playing on Many Drums) in 2002. In the cover story Szafa, and in other short stories from this collection, Tokarczuk deals with extraordinary events in nature and their incompatibility with the facts, as well as with issues including fantastic elements. The keynote of short stories is to discover the meaning of human existence, or rather to give a meaning to human existence, and beyond that to rebuild the main ideas in the form of a world free from the sense of the sacredness of human existence. The world described in author’s prose is two-dimensional and reflects these two planes of existence.
Keywords: Olga Tokarczuk, Szafa, Gra na wielu bębenkach, myth, two-dimensional, fantastic elements, inner monologue, archetype.