Yudit Kiss: The Summer My Father Died

First posted September 10, 2012

NB: This book is one of the most moving and illuminating memoirs I have ever read, its sad it’s not available in India. I hope a far-sighted publisher will publish it. And I am proud to say that the author has been a close friend of mine for 33 years. Here is a portal with her publications.

Yudit Kiss grew up a communist in Budapest, soaking up her father’s ideology unquestioningly. As a child she is puzzled when others refer to her as Jewish; she only knows that her family doesn’t believe in God. How can they? As her father lies dying, Yudit tries to understand the enigma surrounding his life. Where does his unshakeable communist conviction come from? Why doesn’t he have relatives? As she digs deeper into his tragic history, Yudit is forced to confront the contradictions and lies woven into the life of her family – and her country – through the dramatic twists of twentieth century Hungary.

Lyrical and poetic The Summer My Father Died is a powerful memoir.



‘We know too little in the West of what it meant to grow up under a mid 20th century Communism which promised a world far better than what had come before. In this remarkable memoir, the Hungarian-Swiss economist, Yudit Kiss uncovers the paternal history that shaped her own, even while she was unaware of it. The journey is rivetting.’  Lisa Appignanesi, author of the memoir Losing the Dead and All About Love: Anatomy of an Unruly Emotion

‘Few texts have moved me as much as Yudit’s writing about life during the hell of 1944 in Budapest.’ George Láng

‘Very beautiful‘ Ádám Biró

‘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.’ István Szabó

Yudit Kiss on the dictatorship of money: Reclaiming Europa

Yudit Kiss on how Viktor Orbán has crushed Hungary’s 1989 dream

Yudit Kiss: Small Arms & Light Weapons Production in Eastern, Central & Southeast Europe