Zo by Murray Pura

A fated love story amid the backdrop of World War II


Andrew Chornavka took on the Trappist's cowl and disappeared from the 21st century in order to forget the century before.

Yet even at the secluded monastery in America the past finds him. A delegation from the Vatican arrives with questions about his youngest sister, Zoya, who is, to Andrew's shock, a candidate for sainthood. Reluctant, hostile, wanting only to be left alone to his dairy herd and gardens and prayers, Andrew eventually begins to talk.

The talk takes him where he does not wish to go, makes alive again what he had hoped was dead and buried, and makes real what had long ago been lost. He knows what he has to tell is no more than a story about a family that tried to stay together, and keep love strong, when everything on earth tried to rip that love apart. Yet he also knows the archbishop wants a story about an angel who walked with God.

But Andrew did not experience a world of angels and miracles and fairy tales. And neither did his sister Zo.

Genre: FICTION / Romance / Historical / 20th Century

Secondary Genre: FICTION / Sagas

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century, religion, spritual, Ukraine, Russian Historical Romance, 1920's, family saga

Word Count: 47000

Sample text:

the moon

The moon is.

Round in a rut of rainwater.

I hear.

A bellowing. In the distance at night and I think it is people.

It is cattle. But I see human eyes and mouths.

I cut my hand on a knife. I tell myself. I am letting the dirt bleed out. Before I staunch the flow. But then I let it. Go on. I watch it drop over my skin and nails.

A dragonfly lands. On my arm. Gold. Red. It remains a long time.

I. Sit and wait.

—Andrii Chornavka, Trappist monk


I came here because the sun and the moon make no sound or mistakes and the men who walk past me day and night do not intend to interfere with that pattern.

The men are sworn to silence. I swear to God earth and heaven for a hundred miles in any direction have taken the same oath. I have stood outside the stone walls when I could see trees jumping up and down in the wind and heard nothing. The jet planes are high and unnoticed. Only one long white string. Perfectly taut from one end of the blue dome to the other.

When I first came the silence was much more strictly observed. In those days, we had our own sign language and could move our hands as deftly as a swallow spins its wings. Now there are more opportunities to talk. Especially to outsiders. I prefer to avoid such contact. I found little enough of God among humans before I came here and I doubt much has changed since then. It is hard enough to find him between the walls in the company of those who search for him morning, noon and night. The crickets in the fields give me enough language.

It was not my desire to talk. Certainly not about the past. I cannot return. What is the point of the talk? But along with an oath of silence I took an oath of obedience. I am ordered to break silence. I break it.


Book translation status:

The book is available for translation into any language except those listed below:

Already translated. Translated by Galina Kupriyeva
Already translated. Translated by Talía García

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