No Saints or Angels by Ivan Klima


The elements of recent history of the Czech Republic, and Prague in
particular, are in evidence in this book. The main character, Kristyna,
is a divorced woman with a teenaged daughter whose grandmother and
other family on her mother’s side died in Nazi death camps, having been
divorced by her non-Jewish husband. And her father was a staunch
Stalinist to the end of his life. The mother didn’t pass along her
Jewish heritage, or even tell how her mother had died. Another
character is a young man whose job is to investigate the misdeeds of
officials during the Communist years. He passes along the discoveries
he has made, but no action is taken. He feels threatened by his
knowledge; he is sure that one day one of the subjects of his
investigations will kill him. Kristyna is a mass of insecurities,
feeling unable to cope as a mother, and feels guilty about not being
able to hold onto her husband, as she puts it. The alienation is
palpable. Eventually things look up: Kristyna finds help for her
drug-addicted daughter, she connects with her sister, she visits and
cares for her dying ex-husband, she finds solace in the company of her
mother, and she accepts the love of the much younger man, despite her
focus on the fact that it will not last forever.

1 comment


  • Congratulations to Kristnya for accepting the love of the much younger man. It is one of the most fabulous things on earth that Mother Nature has to offer. And never mind that it won’t last forever because a young man doesn’t stay young forever anyway.


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