This autobiographical novel is the author’s debut and also the first part of her unplanned trilogy, followed by the novels The Year of the Rooster and Life is Wonderful. The topic of childhood and adolescence in totalitarian Czechoslovakia is explored in an evocative and original way. Detached messages and ironic humor result in a controversial…

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Written in the form of diary entries, the author depicts the nightmarish experiences of an adoptive mother, whose two foster sons slide into delinquency at the onset of puberty. Using harsh honesty, she portrays how her dream of a large, well-functioning family dramatically falls apart.

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She struggles with the unhappy outcome of adopting two Romany children, which she had already described in her earlier book, The Year of the Rooster (Rok kohouta). Readers will empathize with her concern for her mother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. The novel also includes the author’s reflections on art, especially film and literature. Her…

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