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Alice to Prague

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  353 ratings  ·  75 reviews
In 1994, with a battered copy of Let's Go Europe stuffed in her backpack, Tanya Heaslip left her safe life as a lawyer in outback Australia and travelled to the post-communist Czech Republic.

Dismissing concerns from family and friends that her safety and career were at risk, she arrived with no teaching experience whatsoever, to work at a high school in a town she'd never
Paperback, 360 pages
Published May 6th 2019 by Allen & Unwin
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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Allen and Unwin
'I loved it! I laughed and cried and it was very hard to put down.' Fleur McDonald, bestselling author of Where the River Runs

'Vivid and detailed… captures the pain and freedom of dislocation and questions what it is to belong.' Kathryn Heyman, author of Storm and Grace

'A story of love for country, for home.' Toni Tapp Coutts, author of A Sunburnt Childhood

'A brave, open-hearted and emotionally intense journey.' Liz Harfull, author of Women of the Land
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Alice to Prague, written by Tanya Heaslip, is the true account of a how a young woman from the bush traded her life in the outback for a new world of travel, adventure, culture and love – in Prague. A truthful, emotional and meaningful memoir, Alice to Prague is a book that I found engaging and inspiring.

The outback runs through the author of this memoir, Tanya Heaslip’s veins. Growing up in the harsh wilds of central Australia, Tanya’s love for the land is
Gloria Arthur (Ms. G's Bookshelf)
Alice to Prague

From working on a cattle station in the Australian Outback in her childhood to leaving her career as a lawyer in Alice Springs, Tanya followed her dreams to travel to post-communist Czech Republic for a year. This is Tanya Heaslip’s very own story, Tanya took a high school position teaching English with no teacher's experience whatsoever in a country so extremely different from her home.

Reading Tanya’s story it was easy to imagine myself in Prague, it was so beautifully well writ
Josie Short
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing. Such a beautiful, honest story about dreams, love of country, life struggles and choices and the pull of family and home. It’s raw and heartbreaking but also very inspiring. I could not put it down.
Dale Harcombe
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Three and a half stars.
This is an account of Tanya’s Heaslip’s radical change from leaving life in outback Australia in 1994 and heading off to the post-communist Czech Republic. With no teaching experience she ends up teaching English in a high school in a town where winter temperatures plunge to -20 degrees Celsius – a far cry from the temperatures she is used to. It is a huge change in lifestyle to for someone who grew up on an isolated cattle station in Central Australia. Tanya’s has always
Sophie Staughton
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an enjoyable read! I raced through this book, reluctant to put it down. I was drawn along by the characters and the story. Tanya has painted an evocative picture of her early childhood in the Australian outback through to her 'early life' crisis and searching for more. By the time she ends up in Prague, her unlikely journey from Alice Springs makes sense (only to then have her world turned upside down by falling in love). There were so many times in this book that I could have imagined myse ...more
Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it
3 1/2 Stars. Thanks to A&U for my uncorrected proof copy.
There are many biographies that delve into the experience of living and finding a new life (or sense of purpose) by spending time abroad but I do feel that Heaslip has managed to delve a little deeper than just ‘a coming of age/ finding romance story. While she does write about these facets of her life I believe her ability to communicate an understanding of Czech culture and history is what I found most interesting.
This autobiography pr
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How brave to share such intimate experiences and emotions - and what a story!

I was immediately captivated by the glorious prose - the descriptions of outback Australia were evocative of our ancient landscapes and the descriptions of intense heat and dust were almost tangible. Told through the dreamy eyes of a very young girl from the bush, this tale had me hooked from the outset.

Often touching, sometimes humorous but always challenging, the story of the move to Prague with no knowledge of the l
Jeanette Lewis
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: aussie-authors
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea Davies
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
More than just a travel log ‘girl from the bush treks through Europe’! Tanya has the incredible ability to take you with her as you ride together on her rollercoaster of experiences. So many layers and insights into human connection, the true impacts of the Cold War on a country’s soul, and brilliant juxtaposition of the heart of central Australia, The Czech Republic and their people. Such a rare opportunity to have shared the challenges faced by the legal and political players, together with ev ...more
Heidi Robertshaw
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a beautiful book to read. Tanya's poetic description of her early life in outback Australia through her adventures in post-communist eastern Europe was a delight. I was moved to tears at times by the emotions evoked in her description of the highs and lows of how she 'came of age' during this journey. ...more
Veronica McShane
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Alice to Prague takes you on a very personal journey. Heaslip’s narrative swept me up and hurtled me along, through the centre of Australia, the centre of Europe, and emotions and experiences that are clearly central to her own life story. Not altogether an out-of-control horse ride, but at times it does seem frighteningly close.


Writing a memoir has to be a brave act. Alice to Prague is the work of a mature woman taking the reins (sic) of that story by documenting a deeply significant period
Kirstin Mccallum
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tanya opens this great story with memories of growing up in outback Australia. Descriptions of rounding up cattle in the blasting heat and not going home (despite serious injuries) until the chosen animal is gutted and sectioned. Quite startling for those of us who grew up very sheltered from this very different upbringing.
Then skip a few years and Tanya has made the decision to up and leave a good career in Law and teach English in the Czech Republic despite having no teaching experience and no
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and could hardly put it down. Tanya writes so vividly I almost felt I was present with her, whether choking on the dust at the tail of a mob or on the sulphurous air of Sedlcany; walking the cobbled streets of gracious Prague or travelling on the rocking trams. I fell in love with the people who befriended her and felt I almost knew them for myself. It was a very moving account of travel and adventure, friendship, love and family and sense of place. Thank you Tanya for telling ...more
Cathy Williams
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic debut novel. This book keeps you enthralled from start to finish as you follow the travels and adventures of a very courageous young woman. Such a candid and refreshingly honest memoir which has you laughing and crying. Highly recommend. I can’t wait to read Tanya’s next novel.
Caroline Poole
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Frances Angove
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In 1994, Tanya, a young lawyer from Alice Springs, goes to Czechoslovakia to teach English and fulfill her dream of learning about life in a post-communist country. A brave step indeed for one with no knowledge of the language, and no teaching experience.
She recounts in a very emotional way the good times and the bad, including her distress at her living quarters, her acute loneliness, the day to day struggles, but also, the great joys she experienced there of her teaching, the friends she makes
Trish Heath
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! A joy to read, from start to finish!
Andrea Davies
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More than just a travel log of the adventures of a girl from the bush trekking through Europe. Tanya has the incredible ability to take you with her as you ride together on her rollercoaster of experiences. So many layers and insights into human connection, the true impacts of the Cold War on a country’s soul, and juxtaposing brilliantly the heart of central Australia, The Czech Republic and their people. Such a rare opportunity to have shared the challenges faced by the legal and political play ...more
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a well-written memoir about an Aussie lawyer from the bush who moved to the Czech Republic in the early 90s to teach English and fell in love with a handsome Czech man. It's about the difficulties she faced moving to a country where she knew no-one and didn't speak the language. It's about the isolation and homesickness she felt being so far away from her home, her family and everything familiar. But it's also about how she fell in love with both the country and the people she met.

May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
‘Alice to Prague’ is an incredibly beautiful book, full to the brim humour and hilarity! This book should be a movie! Loved it!
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was beautifully written and extremely descriptive. I was easily caught up in the story and able to picture myself in Prague. The juxtaposition between Alice and Prague must have been incredible to experience and also such a shock especially given Tanya arrived there in the pre-internet days. I feel Tanya conveyed her feelings throughout the book effectively allowing me to relate and understand them. I loved the way the book delved into relationships. Not just the romantic kind but the ...more
Greg McAnulty
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this book thinking it would be a gentle tale of mild adventure. It is much more than that. It combines a charming love story with a late in life coming of age adventure. Heaslip muses on what it means to grow up in isolation, not just in the remote bush but in the unchallenged world view of the Australia of the late 20th century. She yearns for more and fears that the more she yearns for may exist only in her imagination.
Graham Wilson
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful bittersweet story, courage in facing the unknown sits alongside a great evocative opening set in the centre of Australia.

A story of two opposite worlds and of trying to reconcile them which proves impossible. But it is still a great love story - the love to two places and their people and the love for one particular person who is trapped in an unreachable place.
Jennifer Williams
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve just this moment finished Alice to Prague. Absolutely loved it!! I want to buy the film rights!! What an excellent first novel. I’ve read a lot of books by well known authors that need a bloody good editing. This has near perfect balance. I was in tears at the end. Tanya has gone straight to the human heart. Bravo!!!!
Kellie Hoffman
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I’ve lived in Alice & had my own brief love affair with Prague; I actually brought home some little houses which still have pride of place on my shelf. I was so keen for this story; I knew I could relate. For me the writing was nothing to write home about but I loved the lessons that I came away with; that “home is not just where the heart is but where a person can live and work and love fully and openly.” This was a beautifully romantic story on so many levels. Prague will always hold magic for ...more
Linda Joy
Aug 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Very mills and boonies... starts out fabulously detailing our central desert, things that happen to make us seek out worldly experience and then travelling to the eastern block after the Velvet Revolution. 😊 but she lost me with the ‘sparkling blue eyes’ and it was all downhill from there. Reckon Peter Barr should write a memoir!
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
I started out sceptical when I picked up this book. Tanya Heaslip, though, proved to be a highly engaging and adept storyteller, who delves deep into her innermost thoughts and feelings on dealing with a new environment, fish-out-water situations in which she found herself in, when choosing to teach English in a small Czech town in the early 1990s. The appeal of the book is in Heaslip's disarming honesty when sharing her experiences and the fact that she is a highly intelligent person who is not ...more
Siobhan Bejr
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm not really one for reading biographies but this had a special interest to me as my heritage is based in the Czech Republic.
This was such an amazing read and it was so delightful especially in the time it was based in with The Velvet Revolution and the ending of the Berlin Wall.
It was amazing to read about the history of Czechoslovakia and how it became the Czech Republic. It was facinating to know that even after the republic was created, it was still a very tough place to live.
Sep 06, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
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  Jordan Morris is a comedy writer and podcaster whose credits include @Midnight, Unikitty! and Earth to Ned.  The sci-fi comedy Bubble is his...
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