Mrs Palermo’s Cottage: A magic story from the Czech borderlands

AR Parker

Mrs Palermo’s Cottage is a novel by AR Parker, inspired by the Czech borderlands. Vit Pohanka spoke to the author about what brought him to Czechia and what led him to set his latest novel in the town where he bought a house and settled.  

Photo: Europe Books

“The storm had raged the night Eva was born. The world around witnessing fierce winds smashing through the forest, twisting trees from crown to root and ripping away rotting limbs, sent crashing through the canopy to thud down on earth, obliterating all in the way.”

These are the opening lines of AR Parker’s new book. Mrs Palermo’s Cottage is a story full of nostalgia and sadness, but also quite a lot of humor. Nevertheless, there is a sinister and even tragic turn of events, when the change of government brings a new mayor and capitalism to the town of Boz (Krásná Lípa). As the publisher Europe Books puts it: “The tranquil environment of Boz is shattered and everything is put up for sale, including society’s soul.”

AR Parker | Photo: Vít Pohanka,  Radio Prague International

Born in Hadlow, Kent, AR Parker spent most of his life traveling the world on a sense of adventure and inspiration that comes from encountering different cultures. In the past thirty years this brought him to places as varied as China, Saudi Arabia, and Bosnia. He says that, based on this experience, he felt the need to write something about the human relationship to the world surrounding us.

“The message of the book is that we have to respect Nature, or we are finished. It’s about this girl Eva, who is abandoned and adopted by an old lady Mrs Palermo and she helps her to understand and respect Nature.”

Mrs Palermo’s Cottage was published in 2022 by Europe Books in London. Should you be interested in this story set in the borderlands of Czechia, it is available online.