Iva Procházková’s new book is about courage, responsibility and first love – fundamentally about growing up. Horses play an important part in the story epitomizing both freedom and mourning the loss of childhood. A highly readable, entertaining and moving account that steers clear of sentimentality is one of Procházková’s best works yet. Illustrated by Jiří Franta.
Darek yearns for a “normal” family. Things have changed since the death of his mother. His father is forced to get by on temporary work following a closure of a plant, which doesn’t leave him enough time to look after his son and small Ema who has to be watched constantly. When you’re thirteen you probably will not want to hang out with a small girl all the time. At least he doesn’t have to cook since Marta is taking care of that. Even though Darek is not thrilled by Marta’s involvement in his family.
His father’s idea to build a stable wrenches him from the claws of sadness. There is a meadow behind their house where they could easily rear horses. They will embark on a business venture which will help pay off their debts. Darek initially seems distrustful and self-conscious – the family have never had horses before only goats and hens – but eventually ends up spending most of his time there and he also learns to ride horses, even do show jumps. Who wouldn’t want to impress his girlfriend riding a horse in full splendour.
But then something happens what according to Darek was never meant to…
Darek’s story essentially embodies the process of growing-up. Uzly a pomeranče (Knots and Oranges) isabout courage, responsibility and first love with an important part given to horses as epitomes of desire and effervescence but also symbols of mourning for the vanishing childhood years. On the backdrop of a remote mountainous landscape, relationships are imbued with energy, intensity and depth that teenagers growing up in the city can only dream of.
Selected published translations (1)