Memory, Secrets, Magic and LiesBook - 2000
On long walks through the once-grand European capital of Budapest, set on the banks of the Danube, in confidences whispered in splendid fin-de-siècle coffee houses, Vili Racz shared his wisdom and his stories with his granddaughter Anna. Some of his stories were as old as the Carpathian basin and some still held the sting of recent war and hardship. Some were fanciful works of imagination. His tales encompassed the arrival of the Huns and later the Magyars in Europe. He told her of the Turkish wars, of the rise and fall of the House of Hapsburg, and of two devastating world wars. He continued telling her stories through the advent of the Communist era, the 1956 Revolution in Hungary, and the great migration that followed. One day, Anna would have her own stories to tell. She was born during World War II, as bombs rained down on Budapest and a group of Jews hid in the basement of the family house. As Anna grows up in the beautiful but beleaguered city, her grandfather's stories of heroes and strife and survival give her a personal sense of history and of knowing what's right in a country the world seems to have forgotten. The Storyteller is also a vivid and textured saga of the whole Rácz family. There is prejudice and pride, grief and frivolity, violence and glitter, loves, loyalties and betrayals in the tumultuous years from the Second World War to the 1956 revolution and the family's exile to New Zealand. During this time, young Anna briefly goes to prison with her mother, sees her beloved grandfather sentenced to hard labour by the Communists, and witnesses unspeakable human loss in the streets of Budapest at the height of the revolution in 1956. But always at the heart of this engrossing memoir are the amazing stories of her amazing grandfather.
Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, c2000
Branch Call Number: 943/.905/Por 359401 1
Characteristics: viii, 324 p. : ill