Red Danube: A Hungarian Memoir by Vera Hartley
Red Danube intertwines politics and history with fly-on-the-wall glimpses of life spiced by a challenging relationship between the author and her mother, Erzsi.
It tells of everyday events that might happen anywhere in the world. The stroke of a pen in the signing of a treaty, or a small change in the law, for some citizens meant the loss of a way of life, or status, or security. These stories are about betrayal and unexpected grace, loss of trust and kindness from odd corners, loss of identity and finding a new one. The characters are fallible, everyday human beings brought to life through tales peppered with a wry humour.
“Vera Hartley, with great skill for detail and bringing characters to life, charts one Hungarian Jewish family’s experience of the calamitous events of the twentieth century. Hartley captures the actions, feelings and spirit of the times through close examination of all parties involved. I found the story compelling, yet tragic and highly personal. One really gets to know the characters and this creates a special intimacy for the reader.”
Dr Michael Abrahams-Sprod, University of Sydney,
Roth Foundation Lecturer in Israel, Jewish Civilisation and Holocaust Studies