Broken Places

Laszlo Petrovics-Ofner, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $19.95 (241p) ISBN 978-0-87113-359-5
A Hungarian boy tries to make sense of a senseless world in this lyrical novel of the Holocaust. When Pisti, the narrator, asks his parents, ``Am I Jewish?'' they evade his questioning. His mother, a Jewish convert to Catholicism, dresses as a pious Lady in Black and clandestinely distributes food to houses marked with yellow stars. Through his eyes we witness the rampages of Hungary's fascists and the death march of Magyar Jewry. Narrowly escaping the Nazis, the family digs an underground bunker in a cousin's garden and moves in. In later sections, Pisti, a naive adolescent, watches as Russian tanks smash the Hungarian revolution of 1956. His girlfriend dumps him at the insistence of her father, a Party bigshot. Pisti and his older sister escape to the West. In 1989 he makes a rueful return visit to Hungary, only to reaffirm that he is an exile, a wandering Jew. The author, who fled Hungary in the '60s, pens powerful scenes that burn themselves into the mind. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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