Out now: Tendrils
Lucy Duggan

Click here for an online preview.

Tendrils opens up new worlds, layer by layer, and when you think you've untangled them you'll find yourself swept off your feet, overwhelmed and puzzled afresh. The novel is woven around Prague, Munich and the Czech countryside, between communism, its alternatives and its aftermath. Spanning several decades and a manifold cast of characters, Tendrils is a grand tableau. While some considered 1989 "the end of history", this novel confronts the past at that very point. Tendrils is also a psychological novel. Mixing the English narrative tradition with Czech influences (from Moravian folksongs to Bohumil Hrabal and Jáchym Topol),Tendrils dissects the theme of friendship. This seemingly unexceptional bond turns into the most unsettling and fundamental relationship, producing a kaleidoscope of intensities, connecting and unravelling people, not least those who approach the novel as readers.

Featuring original cover artwork and illustrations by Jitka Palmer.

The story
Prague is the city which doesn't let go. And Ochre doesn't want to go – that is, he doesn't think he does. In his forties, he still lives the life of an art student, meeting old dissident friends at the Café Havarie to reminisce about painting under socialism. But one day, something strange happens. As the contours of Ochre's reality blur into the odd pattern on his wallpaper, he begins to piece together the truth about his long-lost friend Tomáš.

Meanwhile, growing up in a Moravian village, Zuzana Černá doesn't want to know anything about the past. Her father has been out of work since 1989, but she doesn't believe the rumours about his old career. She runs wild with her best friend Alena and turns her bedroom into a chaotic art gallery, until she sets off to study art in Munich. Painting connects the main characters of the novel, but it takes the narrative skills of Ochre's ill-humoured pocket knife to combine their different worlds into one vibrant crescendo.

Hear an extract of the novel, read by the author (recording courtesy of Matt Bradshaw):

The author
Lucy Duggan grew up in Warwickshire, Yorkshire, London and Somerset. She is now working on a PhD in Czech and German literature at Oxford University, but when she has the chance, she likes to wander around Prague, Moravia or East Germany. In Oxford, she regularly performs her poetry and prose at the Catweazle Club. She is also the author of the Tiny Stories website. Read more

Publication date: 21 February 2014
ISBN 978-0-9928242-0-4