The Triptych by Margit Liesche
There is a lyrical quality to Leische's writing despite her gritty subject matter of war, betrayal, fear and death.
Two main stories unfold, parallel to each other, set in different times yet linked by the commonalities of the unforeseen, of loss and of grief.
The story moves in and out of 1956 to 1986, from Budapest and the Hungarian Revolution to Chicago; from 11 year old Évike in Budapest to 37 year old Ildikó in Chicago, daughter of Hungarian refugees whose past is surrounded in secrecy.
ldikó's search for the truth about her roots and her mother's untimely death (was it an accident, murder or suicide?) under a Chicago train will take Ildikó to the Budapest of 1986, with Hungary still a satellite of the USSR.
Ildikó's search for her history is a revelation, particularly as the riddle of her mother's death, the fate of her mother's sister and the links between the now and the past are puzzling. Ildikó sadly reflects as she endeavours to make sense of all the confluences in her life, 'now I have only my memory to search for solving the unknowns of [my mother's] death.'
An embroidered collage ldikó's mother Edith had crafted, a triptych of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, holds a key to some of the mystery.
There were some moments of confusion as I didn't always fully realize who was talking.
I found the book interesting, set as it is against the Hungarian uprising background and life under a harsh regime. Those whose personal histories share this time I am sure would find Triptych worthwhile.
An interesting work.
A NetGalley ARC