Czech writer Heda Margolius Kovály, best known for her memoir chronicling her time in Auschwitz (Under a Cruel Star), drew from her later harrowing experiences in 1950s Soviet Prague for her only work of fiction, Innocence. This espionage thriller follows the chilling and stifling atmosphere of political oppression during the post-WWII days of Communist Czechoslovakia. Neighbor and friends are suddenly not to be trusted, as govenrment informants are hidden everywhere, and innocence begins to lose meaning to those in the government. Innocence is available in an English translation for the first time due to award-winning literary translator and co-chair of the PEN America Translation Committee, Alex Zucker. We asked Zucker a few questions about his translation process for Innnocence, the Czech language and more.
Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres.