A Desert in Bohemia

Front Cover
Black Swan, 2001 - Bohemia (Czech Republic) - 331 pages
1 Review

It is 1945. Somewhere in Central Europe, in the aftermath of violence and confusion, a terrified and bloodstained young woman, Eliska, emerges from the forest to take refuge in an apparently abandoned castle. Soon she is joined by others - the idealistic Jiri, the sinister Slavomir and his partisans, and Count Michael Blansky, who is the castle's ancestral owner.

But the war has changed things for ever. In a storm of ideological change, the existing order and the aristocratic heritage of ten generations are brushed aside by the arrival of Communism, and Count Michael must join the flood of refugees if he is to survive. He leaves behind a legacy which will entangle those involved for the next forty years in more ways than they can possibly imagine.

As divided post-war Europe unravels around them, they must make what they can of lives buffeted by circumstance. For many, individual freedom is at best problematic. For better or worse, communities are destroyed, families uprooted, and the ties of trust, friendship and duty which bind them together are broken down by the implacably irresolvable forces at work. Told through the eyes of nine characters who live through the forty years between the end of the war and the fall of Communism, A Desert in Bohemia is a complex and enthralling testament to the power and powerlessness of the individual in challenging times.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

About the author (2001)

Jill Paton Walsh was educated at St Michael's Convent, North Finchley, and at St Anne's College, Oxford. She is the author of several highly praised adult novels: Lapsing, A School For Lovers, Knowledge of Angels, which was shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize, Goldengrove Unleaving, The Serpentine Cave and A Desert in Bohemia. She has also won many awards for her children's literature, including the Whitbread Prize, the Universe Prize and the Smarties Award. She has three children and lives in Cambridge.

Bibliographic information