The House with the Stained-Glass Window
By Zanna Sloniowska
The acclaimed story of a young girl's awakening - set in the the evocative, beautiful Ukrainian/Polish city of Lviv
In 1989, Marianna, the beautiful star soprano at the Lviv opera, is shot dead in the street as she leads the Ukrainian citizens in their protest against Soviet power. Only eleven years old at the time, her daughter tells the story of their family before and after that critical moment - including, ten years later, her own passionate affair with an older, married man.
Just like their home city of Lviv, which stands at the crossroads of nations and cultures, the women in this family have had turbulent lives, scarred by war and political turmoil, but also by their own inability to show each other their feelings. Lyrically told, this is the story of a young girl's emotional, sexual, artistic and political awakening as she matures under the influence of her relatives, her mother's former lover, her city and its fortunes.
Translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Zanna Sloniowska was born in 1978 in Lviv and is a journalist and translator. She now lives in Kraków. She is the first winner of the Znak Publishers' Literary Prize, for which her novel was chosen from among over a thousand entries. In 2016, Zanna Sloniowska won the Conrad Award, the Polish award for first novels.
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- Publication date:
21 Sep 2017
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Sloniowska writes subtly and beautifully - every phrase conjures up images, casting colourful lights just like the stained-glass window of the title. — Sylwia Chutnik
This story could only have happened in Ukraine. And then again it could have happened anywhere, because the blood on the blue-and-yellow flag is just the beginning of an intimate tale about four generations of women. — Zofia Fabjanowska-Micyk, Zwierciadlo.
Sloniowska is a fascinating story-teller who also gives insight into the reality of life in Ukraine. This is an astonishing literary discovery. — Justyna Sobolewska, Polityka.
A city of women's mysteries, and History, which the author constantly re-interprets. Zanna Sloniowska surprises and seduces. — Jaroslaw Czechowicz, Krytycznym Okiem.
A moving, incisive saga about women entangled by historical events. — Anna Szulc, Newsweek Polska.
This novel was written as a challenge to crushing, cruel history; it arose from a desire to give a voice to the individual experiences of women. But at a certain point it turns in a direction contrary to its original ambitions, and the counter-history disappears in the fog of exploding smoke grenades. — Dariusz Nowacki, Gazeta Wyborcza.