3.76 (200 ratings by Goodreads)
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1945, somewhere in Central Europe, a young women takes refuge in an abandoned castle. Soon she is joined by others, including the Count, the castle's ancestral owner. He joins the flood of refugees, but behind him he leaves a legacy that will entangle those involved for the next 40 years.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 128 x 198 x 26mm | 240.41g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0552998648
  • 9780552998642
  • 1,154,771

About Jill Paton Walsh

Jill Paton Walsh is the author of four previous adult novels: Lapsing, A School For Lovers, Knowledge of Angels, which was shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize, and The Serpentine Cave. She has also won many awards for her children's literature, including the Whitbread Prize, the Universe Prize and the Smarties Award. She lives in Cambridge.
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Review quote

'A shimmering, fabulous story...Tragic, convincing, moving this is a novel whose richness, complexity and, ultimately, optimism make the heart sing' The Times. 'Sinuously evocative...Masterfully told...Immensely ambitious, yet also immensely moving, A Desert in Bohemia deserves to follow Walsh's last novel, Knowledge of Angels, on to the Booker shortlist' Daily Mail. 'A moving, gripping, ultimately optimistic, and intensely satisfying novel. Beautifully constructed and written...wonderful' Harpers & Queen. 'A gripping story' Sunday Express. 'Serious, yet enchanting' Independent on Sunday. 'Immensely powerful...a broad sweep of a book' The Scotsman.
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Back cover copy

1945. Somewhere in Central Europe, in the aftermath of violence and confusion, a 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, the castle's ancestral owner.

But the war has changed things for ever, brushing aside the existing order and the aristocratic heritage of ten gererations. For better or worse, communities are destroyed, families uprooted, and the ties of trust, friendship and duty which bind them together are implacably broken down. Count Michael must join the flood of refugees if he is to survive. But he leaves behind a legacy which will entangle those involved for the next forty years in more ways than they can possibly imagine...
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Review Text

"'A moving, gripping, ultimately optimistic, and intensely satisfying novel. Beautifully constructed and written...wonderful'"
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Rating details

200 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 20% (40)
4 43% (86)
3 30% (61)
2 6% (12)
1 0% (1)
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