A vision of late-twentieth-century Prague from an acclaimed Czech novelist.
In late 1992, three years after the Velvet Revolution and as Czechoslovakia is about to dissolve into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, choreographer and dancer Leonora Marty, who fled the Communist state decades earlier, has returned to Prague. Having wrapped up her ballet of The Makropulos Affair, the famous dancer meets old classmates, wanders the city through crowds of tourists, and visits the most obscure and unvisited museums. When she is approached by Thomas Asperger, a descendant of ethnic Germans driven from Czechoslovakia after World War II, she must confront three relationships—her relationship with the city of her youth, her homeland’s relationship with its past, and her new romance with this German admirer.
Written in German and published in 1995, by an author whose life mirrored her protagonist’s, the novel provides a cultural tour of Prague. Employing a style as influenced by the operas of Leoš Janácek as the novels of Thomas Pynchon, Transfigured Night is a masterpiece of Czech literature, showing that the culture of this nation comes in a variety of tongues.
About the Author
Libuše Moníková (1945–1998) was a Czech writer who published several novels in German, including The Facade.
Anne Posten is a literary translator based in Berlin. Her translation of Anja Kampmann’s High as the Waters Rise was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award.
Helga G. Braunbeck is professor of German Studies at North Carolina State University.