A book of two storylines that eventually interconnect, together with the fates of two individuals who could not be more distant from one another – a father and daughter.
Alena Mornštajnová, a novelist who excels in capturing the complexity of human relationships, brings us another sweeping family history bound up with the 20th-century history of the Czech lands. This time she focuses on the difficulties of the father-daughter relationship and how it develops. In the narrative prose Years of Silence this is illustrated using the example of an introverted girl called Bohdana who lives with her surly father and the kind-hearted, submissive Běla – it is hardly surprising that this combination gives rise to tension. The novel’s chapters, speakers and time frames alternate – the parallel story of the staunch communist Svatopluk Žák, Bohdana’s father, is an example of the socialist illusion of a planned future. This powerful, intimate novel with an enigmatic atmosphere culminates at the moment when the two storylines intersect.
“With her work Mornštajnová defies the tradition of much of post-1989 literature in which authors mainly relate their own life experiences. Since her first novel, her ambition has been to tell the stories of several generations of mostly female characters with an emphasis on what shapes their fates and personalities.”
“A crucial part of Mornštajnová’s success with readers is her style, which is simple but by no means banal, full of crystal-clear sentences whose sole purpose is to move the story forward.”
About the author:
Alena Mornštajnová (1963) studied English and Czech at Ostrava University. She made her debut in 2013 with the novel Slepá mapa (Blind Map), and her second novel Hotýlek (The Little Hotel) came out in 2015. It was primarily due to her third novel, Hana, from 2017 that Alena Mornštajnová became one of the most popular contemporary Czech writers. Hana has been translated into more than ten languages (including English, German and Italian) and has won numerous awards: among others, it received the 2018 Czech Book Award and became the 2017 Book of the Year on the website Databáze knih (Database of Books). Her latest novel Tiché roky (Years of Silence, 2019) went to the top of the national bestseller list immediately after publication. In total, more than 250,000 copies of the author’s books have been sold in the Czech Republic. Alena Mornštajnová lives in Valašské Meziříčí.