A rapturous novel of love, longing, and exile, The Silent Woman depicts a twentieth century woman's life against a backdrop of war and political turmoil.
Sylva, half Czech and half German, is born into an aristocratic family and lives in a castle outside Prague. She marries a man she doesn't love and is seduced by the joyful madness of Paris in the 1920s as an ambassador's wife. When the Nazis force her to state her loyalty, she capitulates, not realizing how this decision will inform and haunt the rest of her life. Sylva's story is interwoven with a contemporary sex chronicle of her son Jan, a world-renowned mathematician and émigré living in the United States, who exudes the restlessness of a man without a country.