In a small chapel in the Bohemian Czech countryside, a statue of Saint Joseph miraculously bows in blessing. The priest and the congregation celebrate this event with triumphant joy, but Danny Smiricky, who has been dragged to church by one of his students to atone for some delicious mutual sinning, is troubled by the phenomenon, and haunted by the tragedy that follows—part of the official Communist response. It is 20 years later, during the "miracle" of the Prague Spring of 1968, that he begins to sort out the tangled threads of this disputed act of God.
"It is precisely because [Josef] Skvorecky is a child of his country and remains faithful to the spirit which produced the Prague Spring that his look at it is charged with constant irony.... Everything in [the book] bears the stamp of truth."—Milan Kundera