2000, Books, Non-Fiction

The Storyteller (2000) by Anna Porter

This is a memoir by a Hungarian-Canadian about her Grandfather and her early life in Hungary. Her Grandfather was full of stories about their family and Hungary. Though these stories are probably quite compelling for some people, particularly Hungarians but also anyone who enjoys a good yarn, I had trouble caring about them. I am somebody who is much more interested in truthful history than in imagined history. I understand why many people would prefer the latter, but I do not. And I can’t help that. And so I struggled with the first 100 or so pages of this book.

For me, where the book becomes worth reading and rather incredible is in the author’s memories of Soviet Hungary and the Hungarian Revolution. This is as close a view to that time as I’ve ever had, and it’s rather incredible. Seeing things from the child’s perspective just emphasizes even more the folly of totalitarianism. It’s great stuff.

Unfortunately, it takes a long time to get there and I’m not sure it’s worth the slog unless you of Hungarian descent or if you have an interest in Hungary and its history (as told through the perhaps fantastical memory of someone). That makes it kind of tough to recommend.


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