This moving memoir tells of the author's coming to terms with her father's family history, while she is facing up to his impending death from a brain tumour. Her father, a university academic, has throughout her life been a fervent communist and agnostic devoted to building a socialist state in his native Hungary. Gradually his daughter discovers the reality of his Jewish upbringing and narrow escape from the gas chambers where many of his family ended their lives.
I learnt a lot about the post war history of Hungary from this book and was fascinated by how socialists such as Yudit's father with a belief in the perfectibility of human nature coped with events such as the Russian invasion of Hungary in 1956 and the brutal wars following the break up of Yugoslavia. Although Yudit's search for the truth about her father is specific, it also relates to the experience of the families of many people who went through the traumas of the Second World War and its aftermath. The book is a pleasure to read, poetically written and translated. The ending where Yudit comes to terms with her father's life and her very different life in Geneva is particularly poignant. This book may not be to the taste of all reading groups but is a very satisfying read for anyone interested in modern European history.