The silent woman

Finalist of the National (Critics’) Award

The Silent Woman
The Feminist Press at CUNY, New York, 2014
La mujer silenciosa
El acantilado, Barcelona, 2005
La dona silenciosa
Quaderns crema, Barcelona, 2005
Tichá žena
Odeon, Praha, 2005


Heir to a brilliant, diverse Central European literary tradition which includes Zweig, Kafka and Márai, Zgustova’s novel – full of artistic, musical and literary reminiscences, as well as of philosophical and Biblical quotes which together form a vast dialogue running across different times and civilisations, from East to West – is an impressive palimpsest which both includes and absorbs all of its influences in brilliant fashion. Yet it also echoes the voices of many of those who lived the no less dramatic, later period – when they were in thrall to Communism – such as Hrabal, Kundera, Milosz and Kertész.
Mercedes Montmany, ABC , Madrid

The Silent Woman is a great European novel.
La Vanguardia, Barcelona

A wide-ranging epic novel as well as a parable of an individual’s microcosm against the backdrop of history that sparkles with ideas and forces the reader to think.
Nové knihy, Prague

It is a classical novel, Central European in spirit and sensitivity, with echoes of the great masters of this kind of refinement, such as Stefan Zweig or Sandor Marai.
La Razon, Madrid

The Silent Woman is an ambitious and elaborate novel; /…/ Zgustova can feel satisfied with her acute exploration of human morality submitted to the authority of individual as well as collective guilt.
El Pais, Madrid

A tense, enrapturing, beautiful story full of poetic solitude. /…/ A solid book whose passionate story and classic narrative line and style confirm the fact that we are dealing with a great contemporary writer.
Correo de Andalucia, Seville

Zgustovaʼs novel connects with the great Russian and European literature of the last two centuries/…/ A novel of ideas, an important book, well written /…/ which demands a careful and loving reader.
J. Llavina, Avui, Barcelona

In 400 masterly pages Monika Zgustova portrays the wretchedness of the 20th century and the decadence of Prague. The author recreates history with an excellent and seductive use of language.
J. Capdevila, Avui, Barcelona

A highly ambitious novel which reads like real life, full of magnificent descriptions of atmosphere which make one think of the refinement that is the hallmark of the great classic novels.
Gaspar Hernandez, El Punt, Barcelona


Sylva, half German and half Czech, is born into an aristocratic family in a sumptuous castle near Prague. With her husband, an embassador in Paris, and, later, with her Russian boyfriend, Sylva witnesses the joyful madness of the ‘Twenties and then the Nazi period of the thirties and the forties. During the Communist era she loses all her property and all her loved ones. In the ‘Seventies, a lonely old lady forgotten by all, she ends up living in a poor neighbourhood. That’s when she discovers the fate of her long lost boyfriend: the Soviet regime had confined him to a Gulag. At that point Sylva’s search for him begins…

Another theme which runs through the novel is represented by Sylva’s son Jan, a world famous mathematician, an émigré to the U.S., who earns a fortune but struggles for understanding in his marriage to a beautiful Russian parvenue.

THE SILENT WOMAN is a novel that deals with the events of the 20th century and their dramatic influence on people’s lives.