Dressed for a Dance in the Snow: Women's Voices from the Gulag

(Author) (Translator)

Product Details

$25.99  $24.17
Other Press (NY)
Publish Date
5.7 X 8.3 X 1.3 inches | 1.1 pounds

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About the Author

Monika Zgustova is an award-winning author whose works have been published in ten languages. She was born in Prague and studied comparative literature in the United States (University of Illinois and University of Chicago). She then moved to Barcelona, where she writes for El País, The Nation, and CounterPunch, among others. As a translator of Czech and Russian literature into Spanish and Catalan--including the writing of Havel, Kundera, Hrabal, Hasek, Dostoyevsky, Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, and Babel--Zgustova is credited with bringing major twentieth-century writers to Spain.

Julie Jones is Professor Emeritus of Spanish at the University of New Orleans. She has published widely on the Latin American writers of the "Boom," with a focus on Luis Buñuel's work, in numerous articles for journals such as Cineaste and Cinema Journal.


"[Zgustova's] encounters with magnificent elderly women in Moscow, Warsaw, Paris, and London are testimony to the institutionalized sadism, deceit, and arbitrariness of the Soviet years...Engagingly, many choose to speak less of themselves than of fellow inmates...As one narrative nestles inside another, you can almost feel that living network of Russian cultural survival, which is a matter of friendship and love and learning poems by heart." --Times Literary Supplement

"Vivid...startling...A worthy addition to the literature of the gulag that also features intimate glimpses of the author of Doctor Zhivago." --Kirkus Reviews

"A revelatory attestation to humanity's highest powers." --Foreword Reviews

"A woman keeps a secret diary to describe the magnificent Siberian landscape around her. A man chooses to take his violin instead of his coat into exile with him. Prisoners tell one another fairy tales as they work in the mines. In her book, Monika Zgustova offers a perfect gift, the gift of sensitive listening, to her nine narrators, and as we hear their voices, by turns matter-of-fact, poignant, and powerful, we see the darkest years of Soviet history illuminated, again and again, by small yet radiant flashes of humanity, of art, of beauty." --Olga Grushin, author of The Dream Life of Sukhanov

"What extraordinary women and what extraordinary stories are assembled in this unforgettable book. Monika Zgustova brings us the intimate, agonizing experiences of Russia's survivors of the Gulag: history is alive in these pages." --Claire Messud, author of The Burning Girl

"A unique, beautiful, and exhaustive piece of reporting that reads like an exciting narrative full of intrigue...A splendid complement to and continuation of Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago." --ABC Cultural

"Reading Dressed for a Dance in the Snow makes you freeze, and not just from the cold that blows in from the tundra, but also from sheer fear...Zgustova reconstructs, through memories and confessions, the horror experienced by women in the Soviet Union's prison camps." --El País

"These testimonies, so cruel and real, have now been turned into a song of freedom." --Agenda Libros