cover image In the Darkroom

In the Darkroom

Susan Faludi. Metropolitan, $30 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8050-8908-0

Pulitzer-winning journalist and feminist author Faludi’s wrought and multi-layered memoir focuses on the life of her father, who came out as transgender and took the name Stefánie at the age of 76. In 2004, after nearly 25 years of estrangement, Faludi ((Backlash) and Stefánie reunite in Hungary following Stefánie’s transition to explore her past and reconnect. Faludi dives into Stefánie’s enigmatic past with a journalist’s dogged lust for truth. During a decade of visits to Hungary, where her father relocated after a contentious divorce, Faludi examines Stefánie’s complex psyche in the context of centuries of Hungarian history, with an emphasis on the war years when Stefánie was an adolescent Jewish urchin on the streets of Budapest. Through research, conversation, and relentless probing, Faludi paints a vivid picture of the war and the tormented lives—and deaths—of Hungarian Jews. (In one dramatic scene, Stefánie, disguised with a pilfered Arrow Cross armband and cap, rescues her own parents from the Nazis). The author also sheds light on the dangerous climate of prejudice and racism that persists in Hungary. This is a powerful and absorbing memoir of a parent/child relationship. (June)