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I was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1941. Two years to the day when Germany invaded Poland. My home was about 5 blocks behind the Parliament buildings, the beautiful neo-gothic structure that you usually see on the news when Hungary mentioned.
Suddenly my world was turned upside down and found myself as a refugee in Austria, then 4 months later, shivering at the corner of Portage and Main in Winnipeg. Learning English, adjusting to a new lifestyle and making friends with other young adults who were brought up in a stable, naive, yet in some ways more sophisticated, affluent western environment was no small feat. With a lot of help and understanding from friends and teachers, I successfully finished high school and earned a degree in Science at the University of Manitoba in 1963.
Shortly after graduation I met and married another refugee, John Kende, a cartographer. His career-moves had us living in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary. For 20 years I worked as a biochemist, research assistant in medicine at various universities and hospitals across Canada. In 1984, I published my first cookbook Eva's Hungarian Kitchen, which amazingly still has a huge following, sold over 20,000 copies and is in 6th printing.
My second cookbook, Eva's Kitchen Confidence is a compilation of methods, tips and techniques I've learned from experience. Although my jobs exposed me to computers very early, writing a 324 page book and teaching myself to compose an eBook was a challenge. I chose this format to make the book affordable for people trying to save money, time and still put a nutritious home cooked meal on the table.
Our son Leslie was born in Winnipeg in 1968. He is an engineer, a graduate of Queen's University. He and his wife Ruth, a registered nurse, live in Calgary. On December 22, 1998 they presented us with a beautiful grandson Noah Thomas. Our second grandson, Anthony George was born April 23rd, 2001. Both boys give us great pleasure. Their unique view of life gives us new perspectives and challenges. We are "semi-retired" in Canmore Alberta in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and see the peaks of the Three Sisters from our windows.
Our home is on the edge of an environmental reserve, near the Bow River. We have frequent visits from coyotes, bears, elk and deer in our back yard and there is a constant traffic around our bird feeders. -To the right is a Rufus Hummingbird.- I garden, knit, crochet, tole paint, read, volunteer, write and of course, cook up a storm. We travel to Hungary, exotic places like China, Cuba, Jamaica, Greece, Alaska, Russia, the Mediterranean, as well as, around Canada as frequently as possible.
Snapshots...Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain was published to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution. It's a memoir of my childhood in Hungary that depicts the way that the repressive regime affected the everyday life of ordinary people including the world of young children. It is a reminder that we should cherish our freedom!
To read about my previously published books and other writing projects, please visit me on my homepage: www.telusplanet.net/public/ekende
Laura McHale Holland
on Sep. 05, 2011 :
I connected with Eva Kende, author of Snapshots...Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, on Facebook and was intrigued enough by what she had to say about her life and work to buy her ebook. I was a bit apprehensive because I’ve bought books by a few other authors I’ve met online and have been disappointed to the point where I couldn’t even finish the books, let alone review them. Luckily, this is not the case with Eva’s eye-opener of a book.
The author’s conversational style, eye for detail and ability to capture the unique quirks, good and bad, of the folks who mattered most to her during her tumultuous childhood drew me right into her story. She was born in Budapest, Hungary, in the midst of World War II and lived there until the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, at which time she and her mother escaped and ultimately settled in Canada.
This is not a literary memoir or a traditional autobiography. It is a series of recollections honestly conveyed. The book begins with Eva’s memories of her grandmother, an eccentric and highly successful necktie-maker and shopkeeper, and continues through the many adjustments required of Eva and her extended family as they lived amid the city’s ruins and survived the upheavals brought by foreign occupation and communist rule, including losing their livelihoods, their homes and many people they loved.
When I’ve thought of what life must have been like for people behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, I’ve tended to picture bleak scenes in black and white, glum people suffering in the cold, hungry people in bread lines. This book brings home how incomplete that picture is. Eva’s narrative shows how ordinary people adapted with ingenuity and pluck, and lived with dignity and hope. Dealing with so much loss, people still loved, laughed, worked, played—and there was much for a spirited child like Eva to learn among friends of all ages she made during her adventures in and around Budapest.
There was great hardship, certainly, but the human spirit soars in Eva’s book. I think it’s worth every penny of the pittance it costs to download. I imagine people who read this book will not only gain a new perspective on life in Eastern Europe after World War II, but they will also feel a good deal of admiration for the author when they turn the last page.
(reviewed the day of purchase)