Goya's Glass

Goya’s Glass
The Feminist Press at CUNY, New York, 2012
La dona dels cent somriures
Proa, Barcelona, 2001
Grave cantabile
Odeon, Praha, 2001


The brilliant writer and translator Monika Zgustova has created (…) three powerful portraits of love and hope, of unhappiness and desperation. All together it makes for an enduring impression.

Monika Zgustova’s novel about the fate of three highly unusual women is splendid.
Halo noviny

Three passionate novels, full of beauty and poetry.
Cesky dialog

Three short novels, in the style of those Stefan Zweig biographies. (…). A book which links up passion and ideas. (…)Remarkable in the way it deals in such an exemplary fashion with vocation, integrity and the value of culture.
La Vanguardia

Existences with a tragic background, Alba, Nemcova and Berberova show to what extent individual destinies are subject to the winds of history.

Three stories set in different historical periods and in three different contexts (the court of Madrid and southern Spain, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Paris of the Russian exiles), the common denominator of which is a female character who attempts to impose her will on historical circumstances.
El Pais

The violins of Prague, the whisper of the pages of a book in one of its cafes, and the sound of footsteps on the snow are to be found in the voice of Monika Zgustova. In the novelistic triptych three aspects of love are explored – passion, falling in love and faithfulness – through several brilliant women.
El Periodico

The development of the different love affairs, the determined confrontation with a hostile environment and the eagerness to make one’s most intimate convictions and aspirations play a vital role provide the thematic pillars of these three narratives, and convert the Duchess of Alba, the Czech writer Bozena Nemcova and the Russian writer Nina Berberova into three passionate and courageous heroines.
Regio 7

A brilliant novel which makes use of biographical resources.

Complex characters, luminous as a kaleidoscope, who found a refuge and a reason for living, in art and beauty.

Passion, eroticism, the psychology of man and woman: an extraordinarily original trilogy about amorous relationships.
Plzensky denik

This novelistic triptych talks of the tragic beauty of life, of the greatness of the woman who loves; three disturbing, exciting and moving stories.

The three stories have a point in common: an investigation into how historical circumstances can modify feelings of love.
Lidove noviny

Three stories on three different aspects of love – falling in love, passion and friendship – which make up a highly seductive book.
Vecerni Praha

The tremendous contribution which this book has made to literature is undeniable.

Monika Zgustova’s new book talks once more of the ‘great’ and is based on real events, in order to create a work which deals with great art and great suffering. It is a book, which, like its predecessor, the novelised biography of Bohumil Hrabal, starts from real events and talks about three historical personalities; it makes for a fascinating read.

Goya’s Glass, a novel of love and betrayal, follows the lives of three women. The Duchess of Alba, known as Goya’s muse, recalls on her deathbed the passions of youth in the royal court of eighteenth-century Madrid. Teresa Cayetana, the Duchess of Alba, as well as the other two women present in the novel, were caught in the crosshairs of history, and they find passion and self-expression in worlds that rarely accomodate female desire.