Synopses & Reviews
Long before she was born, Dominika first appeared to her mother in a dream, so when she came to be, she was welcomed with eager expectation and much love. Though her arrival was auspicious, as the child of recognized dissidents associated with the failed Prague Spring uprising, Dominika's life would be far from charmed. Her mother was disowned by her parents, who were members of the Party elite. Her father was an inventor whose politics resulted in his working as a taxi driver, but who nevertheless remained an unrepentant optimist. Rounding out the family-colorful, even by local standards-were a beautiful, voluptuous teenage sister with many male admirers and an enormous St. Bernard who was a famous Czech TV star.
In a village on the outskirts of Prague, full of gossipy neighbors, state informants, friendly old "grandmothers," and small-town prejudices, Dominika grows up a self-possessed child, whose openness and curiosity often lead her, and her family, into trouble. Yet the love, pride, and quirky ingenuity that bind them together will guarantee their survival-and ultimately their happiness-through the best and worst of times. The Twelve Little Cakes is equal parts testimony to the struggles of a bygone era and a love letter to a joy-filled childhood that no external forces could dim.
"Born in 1975 in Prague, the daughter of former dissidents of the failed Prague Spring in (then) Czechoslovakia, Dery has penned a memoir collecting tales from her early childhood. She lived in a village outside Prague riddled with Communist informers ever-ready to implicate her father, a sometime taxi driver, and her mother, who ghost-wrote books for the Czech Politburo, in anti-Socialist acts. Dery's maternal grandmother was a powerful member of the Communist elite, her grandfather a famed surgeon; both were very wealthy by Czech standards. After the reform movement was quashed by the Soviets, Dery's mother was banished from the family. Written in an old-fashioned style mimicking the fairy tales Dery loved as a child, this account presents every event the house flooding while under construction, Dery's rejection by her grandparents when she invites them to her Czech ballet debut, the unpleasant death of the family's St. Bernard in a vacuum. Dery never veers from the perspective of a very young child, thus providing no context by which to judge the story of growing up in the last years of the Communist state. Still, it's a sometimes charming period piece. Agent, Theresa Park. (Oct. 4) Forecast: With a blurb from Nicholas Sparks, the book may appeal to women readers. Foreign rights have been sold in France, Germany, Italy and Spain." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Equal parts testimony to the struggle of a bygone era and a love letter to a joy-filled childhood that no external forces could dim, "The Twelve Little Cakes" is the colorful story of a precocious child born to recognized dissidents associated with the failed Prague Spring uprising.
About the Author
Dominika Dery was born in Prague in 1975. As a young girl she danced and performed in the National Ballet and National Theater companies. She is the author of four collections of Czech poetry and a play. The Twelve Little Cakes is her first book in English.