A story of passion and desperation through different historical frames.
The Duchess of Alba, known as Goya's muse, recalls the passions of youth on her deathbed in the royal court of eighteenth-century Madrid. A young woman defies the protocols of her arranged marriage and pursues love—and the life of a published writer—until her readers condemn her as a danger to society in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Nina Berberova escapes persecution during the Russian Revolution and flees to Paris, where the intelligentsia naively covet the promise of a Soviet Union. These three women attempt to find passion and intimacy in worlds that rarely accommodate female desire. Goya's Glass is an unforgettable novel of guilty pleasures coursing through history.
"For Zgustova and her triad of women, the experience of exile—so delicately rendered in Berberova's letters—is as palpable as the struggle to survive beneath the weight of a repressive regime, as documented in Nemcová's life story. Inhabiting the crossroad between history and imagination, Zgustova's new novel is a tantalizing and powerful effort." —Publishers Weekly
“A powerful testament to the determination of women to circumvent stifling societal strictures and boundaries." —Booklist
"Monika Zgustova's concerns are close to my own: the fate of the individual in the hands of totalitarianism. She is an outstanding writer, whose fiction invokes the politics and culture of people throughout history." —Václav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic
"Three centuries, three solitudes, three unbridled passions, three indomitable women—Monika Zgustova is a born storyteller. Goya's Glass is a magnificent achievement." —Josef Skvorecky, author of The Engineer of Human Souls
“The portraits of three women of different nationalities and centuries in Goya's Glass reveal a unique voice that owes as much to Kundera as to Flaubert, to Hasek as to Tolstoy. Monika Zgustova is a perfect example of a writer without borders, whose literary creations include the cultures and languages that she has accumulated throughout her lifetime.” —Juan Goytisolo, author of Exiled from Almost Everywhere