Castles Burning

Magda Denes, Author W. W. Norton & Company $24 (352p) ISBN 978-0-393-03966-5
This extraordinarily moving Holocaust memoir adds a new dimension to the literature. Denes was five years old in 1939 when her father, a wealthy Hungarian Jewish publisher, left Hungary after his newspaper was seized by the authorities, leaving Magda, her 12-year-old brother, Ivan, and their mother to cope with wartime conditions in Budapest and, ultimately, the German takeover in March 1944. The author recounts with unsentimental candor how she and her family survived years of hiding in Hungry and, later, lived as displaced persons in Germany. Denes endured starvation, the death of her beloved brother and homelessness with a feisty refusal to give way to despair. What sustained her and what makes this recollection remarkable is Denes's ability to recall and express the enormous hostility she felt toward her mother for placing her in homes away from her family, her impatience with her aunt and grandparents, her fury at her father for his desertion and the cynicism beyond her years she used as a defense against an insane world. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-393-33697-9
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-684-84688-0
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!