This novel was the last to be published in her lifetime by the late author of Year of Pearls, an extraordinary novel with an extraordinary theme (one of the first Czech novels to openly describe lesbian relationships). Year of Pearls has been translated into several languages, and Ceilings deserves a similar fate. The inner drama takes place at a psychiatric asylum; “detox” becomes a place of human relations exposed, a place of torturous questions and answers, a place of life traumas into which the outer world intrudes as an exacerbating element. In an at times fantastic narrative, the so-called real and dream world blend into one, as do the character’s inner feelings and ostensibly objective picture of their lives.
“[…] a forceful narrative with a sophisticated structure reflecting the reality and atmosphere of a mental hospital and an imaginative exploration of human in/capacity.”
— Sylva Ficová, Literary Hub
“Zuzana Brabcová’s novel is a literary event, a work on the fringes which is extraordinary in its condensed and poetic style. It is, at least for me, the literary event of the past year and beyond.”
— Petr. A Bílek, Respekt
“What appeals to readers most is not even the stylistic brilliance. It is perhaps the persistent deliberation upon the fate of a disparate group of sick women through which the author offers us an insight into our equally disparate present. The novel Ceilings seems to confirm the age-old rule that, paradoxically, the more specific a novel is, the more it touches us.”
— Magnesia Litera jury
Read an excerpt