A group of mysterious woman have lived high up in the White Carpathian Mountains. They are far away from everything, which is why it is said that certain women among them have succeeded in preserving knowledge and intuition the rest of us have lost.
They have passed this knowledge down from generation to generation for centuries. They are known as goddesses, because they are able to connect with God and ask for His help. And His interventions do help a little … It is said of the goddesses that they see the future. So why haven’t they saved their own?
Dora Idesová is the last of the goddesses. She is reluctant to accept an outdated way of life and to read the futures of those who come to her in drips of wax, as her Aunt Surmena did. But everything changes once she understands that her personal circumstances that she has always considered unhappy – being sent to a boarding school and hospitalization in an asylum in Kroměříž – is part of a carefully thought-out plan. It is the late 1990s, and in the archives of the Ministry of the Interior in Pardubice there is a file awaiting discovery – a file compiled by the State Security police on an enemy of the state, her Aunt Surmena. A disbelieving Dora untangles details of the previously unknown fates of her family and other goddesses …
Were the goddesses a danger to incredulous patients? Were they a genuine ideological threat to society in the years of Normalization? Or was the eradication of the last relics of paganism the work of common human envy and spite? This new novel by Kateřina Tučková is a fascinating tale of the female soul, magic and a part of Czech history kept hidden.
The original Czech edition won the 2013 Readers Award of the Czech Book, 2012 Josef Škvorecký Award and the 2013 Magnesia Litera – Readers’ award.
More information in German here.
Information about the original Czech edition
Other selected published translations (4)
Boginie z Žítkovej Polish
Üldözött istennők Hungarian
Богините от Житкова Bulgarian