The talented writer has transformed a traumatic experience into superb prose on a consistently neglected and explosive subject.
Františka is eleven years old and it’s a few years since the fall of the Iron Curtain. Now there is the freedom to follow her dreams. Františka finds a path to her dream of being an actress opening up through a drama club – and, of course, through Mirek, who’s in charge of it. He’s the only one who can prepare her for auditions. Get all he can out of her, practice perfect self-denial so she can be all she can be…
Hana D. Lehečková’s Buds is set in the strange, predatory and naive period of the post-communist years, when the energy of society mingled with a lack of awareness of the pitfalls in the liberal view of relationships and intimacy. The atmosphere of the period contributes to the dynamics of the story, whose subject is the sexual abuse of children. Lehečková has managed to convincingly capture the straightforward world of a still childish way of thinking, a world that comes across as almost brash and rude – but only until we realize how much more chilling the insidious manipulation by an adult is; what a powerful influence can be wielded by the leader of a drama club mostly attended by girls. Girls who are too old to be under their parents’ constant supervision but too immature to see through the psychological tricks of a sexual predator. After all, when he’s smart, funny, well-read and adored by the girls’ parents… Who would believe them?
“Lehečková is the kind of talent that is rare in contemporary Czech literature.”
“Lehečková describes goings-on in a children’s drama club through the naive eyes of an eleven-year-old girl, and yet it sends shivers down the spine of the adult reader – all the more so because the writer makes no secret of her own experiences with a similar predator.”
About the author:
Hana D. Lehečková (1990) graduated in Theory and Criticism from the Theatre Faculty of Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts. She made her debut as a writer in 2012 when she won a drama competition at the Švanda Theatre, which went on to stage her play V(ý)chod (Entrance/Exit). Apart from her work for the theatre, she mainly writes for radio. Her serial Vesmírné putování komety Julie (The Cosmic Voyages of Julie the Comet) was broadcast by Czech Radio. She made her book debut in 2018 with the children’s book Co se děje v Podpostelí (What’s Going On In Underthebed?). For her psychotic novella Svatá hlava (Sacred Head, 2019) she received the 2020 Jiří Orten Award. She works as a literary editor.