A Slight Loss of Loneliness

Original title: Nepatrná ztráta osamělosti
Publisher: Akropolis, Prague, 2023
507 pages
Historical Fiction


  • Winner of the prestigious Czech Magnesia Litera Award (Debut of the Year)

An epic and extraordinarily compelling account of the return from Auschwitz to post-war Prague: Young Peter Stein arrives in his hometown where no one is waiting for him. He has nothing to fall back on while he is haunted by traumatic memories of life in the concentration camp and vain hopes for the return of his loved ones. The novel reflects historical events with great accuracy.

Seventeen-year-old Peter Stein survived the horrors of the Auschwitz concentration camp — including a death march. Completely exhausted physically and mentally, he arrives in his hometown, Prague. It is May 1945 and the city is joyfully celebrating the end of the war. The return of shadows from the past does not fit into this time of optimism. The search for his lost family, for friends, for love leads the young hero on an unexpectedly difficult path; he has to deal with his traumas, fears and his distrust of his surroundings. He realizes that the war has left unheald wounds — not just in himself. The post-war world is changing irrevocably and none of what he dreamed of in captivity will turn out the way he imagined.

The suggestive and exciting story is by no means just another reappraisal of the Holocaust. It covers the time afterwards and confronts readers with events that are little known. The novel is moreover a carefully researched historical document; readers will learn about historical facts.

One of the best Czech books of the year. Overwhelmingly impressive.  
Deník N daily  
One of the best books on the subject of the Shoah published so far.