Yudit Kiss has grown up a Communist, sponged up her father's ideology unquestioningly. So as a child she is puzzled when others refer to her as Jewish, all she knows is that her family don't believe in a God. How can they? As her father lies dying, Yudit and her sisters take it upon themselves to write the story of their father. His communist ideology, where it came from, and the enigma surrounding his family's past are all wisps of a family history story that have never been explored in his lifetime. Learning more and more about her father's tragic history, how his Jewish family was almost completely annihilated during the Second World War, how in order to save him his mother was compelled to give him up to an orphanage, a slow awakening is kindled within her. Yudit is confronted with the contradictions and lies that make up her countries - and family's life. Throughout this tender and painful discovery she is reunited with members of her father's family that he had rejected - just as he himself had been left feeling rejected by them. Lyrical, poetic and pierced with black humour, The Summer My Father Died is a stunning and achingly beautiful memoir.
Shortlisted for Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize 2014.
'In this remarkable memoir, Yudit Kiss uncovers the paternal history that shaped her own, even while she was unaware of it - the journey is riveting.' Lisa Appignanesi 'It shook me profoundly - not only the upsetting richness of the relationship between father and daughter, but the internal development of the narrator also had a deep impact on me.' Istvan Szabo Few texts have moved me as much as Judit's writing about life during the hell of 1944 in Budapest.' George Lang 'Very beautiful' Adam Biro
About the author: Yudit Kiss was born in Budapest in 1956. After having worked in Hungary, Mexico and the UK, she moved to Switzerland in the early 1990s, where she currently lives. A researcher in economic development, she is the author of a number of articles, research papers and academic works. This is her first literary work. About the translator: Georges Szirtes was born in Budapest in 1948 and is a celebrated poet and translator. His first book, The Slant Door, won the Faber Memorial Prize in 1980. Since then he has published several books and won various other prizes, including the T. S. Eliot Prize for Reel in 2005. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His own work has been translated into numerous languages. His translations include Metropole by Ferec Karinthy (Telegram,2008).