Some things, it seems, exist outside of time… History, wars, totalitarian regimes and weather do nothing to change them. One such is Leopold Mánes’s little hotel, a place for short assignations founded at the time of the First Czechoslovak Republic; it continued to serve delighted couples during the years of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, nor did it stop after it was nationalized by the communists. But the more straightforward the love played out in the rooms of the hotel, the more fateful and dramatic the relations within the family of the proprietor, and later the manager.
Following the success of her first novel Slepá mapa (Blind Map), which describes the lives of three generations of women, the primary focus of Mornštajnová’s book is a male protagonist, Leopold’s grandson Václav Mánes, who takes over the management of the hotel in the Sixties. Václav lacks clear opinions and character, allowing him to navigate deftly the waters of the communist regime and so keep the family business together, albeit to devastating effect on relationships within his family and people who get close to him. Alena Mornštajnová’s novel gives confirmation of her status as a born storyteller who is able to captivate her readers.