Wild Cherry Trees

Petra Dvořáková

Petra Dvořáková: Wild Cherry Trees

Original title: Pláňata

Genre: novel


Host, 2023

ISBN: 978-80-275-1761-9

Pages: 336

Rights sold to:

Poland (Stara Szkoła), Macedonia (Muza)


Novel about coming of age at a time of revolution


An ordinary family in an ordinary village. Two girls of school age whose parents are in ordinary jobs. Grandparents too, in a rather too snug, patched-up, otherwise perfectly ordinary house. Around all this is ordinary, unchanging time. But these appearances are deceptive. It is 1989, and the old, communist regime of Czechoslovakia is moving silently towards sudden collapse. Pavlína, the main narrator of this multi-voiced narrative, shares her parents’ euphoric illusions of a different, better life, projecting them onto the white walls of her secret wishes and desires. These concern her relationships as well as ideas about freedom and its attractions. It occurs to the girl that her family – in which ‘everyone thinks well of everyone, more or less’ – is like a heath covered with a scrubby vegetation of misunderstanding, emotional hang-ups and, in some cases, aggression. The craving for whatever good fortune one can grab, and the temptation to exercise the power that flows from it, is an irresistible diversion from respect and empathy. It is as though a big black moth has landed on the inner and outer world. Pavlína is long out of school, yet so many stumbling blocks remain on her path to adulthood. Can a person change enough to leave their small world behind? Will its weight disappear along with the merciful darkness, or perhaps with the coming of a shining light?     

"From an outsider’s view, in thematic terms this is perhaps the least striking of this highly successful author’s books. Yet it is one of her most impressive. Its principal “dramatic material” is life itself, along with its great changes – some imposed by fate, some reached painfully, by fumbling one’s way."  — Martin Stöhr, editor

"I’m of the generation that the late Eighties/early Nineties caught on the cusp of puberty. It’s unlikely that such a time will come again. In Wild Cherry Trees, I explore how these years touch the life of an ordinary family, discovering how the protagonist Pavlína, her parents and others close to her sail off into the great unknown of the new time, and how they then handle their great expectations and the impact of being deprived of them. Above all, however, this book is about how no outside change can solve personal problems and demolish differences of opinion. While her family are drowning in their everyday, apparently mundane concerns, Pavlína strives for a way out."  — Petra Dvořáková about her book

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