The Woods in the Home

Alena Mornštajnová

Alena Mornštajnová: The Woods in the Home

Original title: Les v domě

Genre: novel


Host, 2023

ISBN: 978-80-275-1586-8

Pages: 304

Foreign editions:

Bosnian (Buybook, 2023, Ljiljana Halilović), Macedonian (Muza, 2024, Igor Stanojoski)

Rights sold to:

Egypt (Sefsafa), Slovenia (Celjska Mohorjeva Družba), Bulgaria (Ergo), Poland (Amaltea), Austria (Wieser), Serbia (Ammonite), Croatia (Hena Com)


Alena Mornštajnová is back – again with something different, and again with something brilliant!


Kid, as she is known, seems to have arrived in this world by some kind of oversight, for there is nothing for her here. Her father went off during the floods and her mother has abdicated parental responsibilities in favour of lovers and alcohol, leaving Kid with a spiteful grandmother who believes that life’s bad things are either exterminable, like the slugs at the garden centre she runs, or not to be spoken of. But all around them are woods in which danger lurks, and one day Kid does start to speak of it…   

Alena Mornštajnová has written a captivating drama about how nothing in life is as it seems at first, and that no secret is buried so deep that it cannot be excavated. The secret here may scare you, but you will not stop reading till it is out.

"I wanted to write a book about how difficult it can be to distinguish truth from lies, and to stand up to evil. I wanted to show how certain choices that appear straightforward to the onlooker may be unreadable and insurmountable for the person caught up in them. And for my own sake I wanted to explain why such things happen and are so difficult to face." Alena Mornštajnová


"The author models the story on ancient tragedy. In the beginning, it doesn’t take much, just one lie basically,  a presence in a house full of other people’s lies, and everything then seems inevitable. (…)

Mornštajnová has not written a thriller here, though the plot is dark enough. It credibly depicts the mycelium from which the distorted personality of the main character is formed. (…) Mornštajnová perfectly captures the environment of lies, half-truths and silence. (…)

If there’s one thing Mornštajnová really excels at, (...) it’s unfeigned empathy. She can even “listen” to downright repulsive beings from the pages of her books, but without confusing this perception for approval or acquiescence. Here there is a clear dividing line. A line that needs to be constantly highlighted in today’s neurotic society. It is here that we can glimpse the chief positive aspect of her latest book."

Aleš Palán, Aktuálně.cz


"Alena Mornštajnová has written an intimate psychological prose work with elements of mystery and horror. In fact, this is creeping horror, which manages in places to be very symbolically-loaded,  about the hell inflicted on one person, or to be more precise one woman, by others. Together with Hana, the author’s best book.

And by the way, other people, or to be more precise other women - the author’s female writer colleagues, particularly those who publish under the Brno Host banner - seem to resonate at certain points or facets of this novel. (…) As if Mornštajnová is saying that she is keeping her fingers crossed for all of them. That they are all pulling together. That the topics they are broaching are important. More than important. That this has to be written about. And read about. So that we don’t have to live through it. In the case of an author who sells hundreds of thousands of copies of her books,  quite a promising realization."

Radim Kopáč, Lidové noviny


"The reader is successfully glued tight to the pages of this book. The author goes straight for it, without frills, lace or any other pleasing literary ornamentation. She wants the rawness (and brutishness) of the plot to breathe not only from the story, but above all from the letters, words and paragraphs.


Alena Mornštajnová only unwinds slowly in The Woods in the Home, and what may have struck you somewhere in the first half of the book as an overly bold idea, begins to increasingly take on form. The rising tension, the ever stronger atmosphere — and above all the finale with its climax that you try to put off while still getting to the destination as soon as possible. (…) This is a book that will stay with you for a long time, that you will often recall. But that’s what we’re used to with this author. (…) The Woods in the Home is chilling, eloquent and dramatically harrowing. And I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it is absolutely brilliant."

Tomáš Fojtík, Seznam Médium

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