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Gabriella grew up in Chicago and currently lives in New England. She is grateful for the support of friends and family who made this book possible.
on Aug. 25, 2014 :
My parents were born in Hungary, and even though they were children when the Hungarian Revolution was going on, they have very vivid memories of their lives and what my grandparents were going through. My mom remembers the Russian tanks going through the city. It is mostly why my grandparents decided to move to America not much later. It was a difficult and scary time to say the least.
The very real historical aspect of the storyline and descriptions were despairing, yet captivating. I enjoyed the love story too. I especially enjoyed the bits of Hungarian that were included in the dialogue. Great job! I hope she writes more novels!
(reviewed 15 days after purchase)
Elizabeth Audrey Mills
on Aug. 16, 2013 :
This book is, I think, one of the most powerful I have ever read - a mixture of fictional characters in a frighteningly real situation, I found it gripping and emotional.
I remember watching the film "Schindler's List" and, at the end, when the house lights went up and people would normally be scrambling for the exits, nobody moved; we were all too stunned by what we had seen. "'56" affected me like that. After I had read the last word, I just stared at the page, assimilating the heart-wrenching stories that I had experienced.
Gabriella Horvath has created something rare and special. I strongly recommend this excellent book.
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)
on Jan. 16, 2013 :
Went I began high school in 1957, I had the opportunity to meet two Hungarian boys who had escaped their country during the ‘56 revolt. While their stories, told in halting English, were fascinating, it wasn’t until I read this novel from an adult perspective that I fully understood what they must have gone through. Gabriella Horvath paints a vivid picture of life under the thumb of a totalitarian state and the hardships people are willing to endure to obtain freedom. It is definitely a story worth reading.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
on Jan. 01, 2013 :
“The lost cause, it's a fever that burns in the Hungarian soul”. Faded Mitteleuropäische café culture, tones of Kodály, Bartók, of coffee and pálinka, set the elegant backdrop to this tragic story of broken humanity. Vivid characterisations, with clear biographical undertones, shape the evolving relationships of the nascent activists, from their first artfully shifting round the black market margins of the brutal state, then standing four-square before its heavy artillery. In the corridors of bruises and broken ribs, the ÁVH (secret police) interject into Horvath's intricate and pastel human narrative of rural family gatherings and urban literary friends, the cold savagery of a system whose suffocating suspicion lends a substratum of fear to daily human encounter. From the boldness of Béla's failed heroism with the student protestors against the Soviet tanks, to the desperate flight of Gizi and infant Elek to the West, this historical novel interjects into the little lives of its protagonists the high machinations of the men of power, the betrayal of a people by their promises, and the spirit of human grace and kindness in the face of impossible odds.
(reviewed the day of purchase)