Reviews and reactions about 'The Summer My Father Died'

French edition

“Rarely has a story devoted to what life and thought were like in an ancient popular democracy achieved such formal success. …YK constructs an endearing, heartbreaking, lucid and ironic kaleidoscope…This book is so fine and so hard…magnificent in its painful, but ultimately soothed sensitivity…”
Antoine Perraud, La Croix, 31/05/2023. 📖

“This remarkable story of political and identity blindness is coupled with the intimate story of a youth behind a crumbling iron curtain. Yudit Kiss fiercely defends her faith in a free world, rid of its deadly ideologies.”
Ariane Singer, Le Monde, 07/13/2023. 📖

“a moving and true story... extremely endearing... one of the major contributions of this year's literary production “
Albert Bensoussan, Unidivers Mag, 3 juillet 2023.  📖

“…a novel, which unfolds in concentric circles to expand from the family history... An intimate and powerful portrait... “
Frédérique Roussel, Libération, 24 juin 2023.  📖

“It's been a long time since I read such a profound book, of such a rare humanity.”
Henri Raczymow, Regards, N° 1096 ; 15/06/2023.  📖

“The story of a family, between exiles, annihilations and persecutions, with the background of the history of an entire European region...Yet, we also laugh, because in this book the acute intelligence and passionate attention to reality go hand in hand with unalterable vitality. The Hungarian writer finds the perfect balance between humor, emotion, and tragedy.”
Pierre Ahnne, L’Inventoire. La Revue littéraire de l’Aleph-Écriture, 19 juin 2023.  📖

“This very beautiful book belongs to several genres. It is first and foremost an autobiographical story... metamorphoses into a history book. That of ordinary and sinister life in a popular democracy, a “brother country” of the Soviet Union, during the time of Stalin.”
Myriam Anissimov, Tribune Juive, 19 juin 2023.  📖

“To the story of the father, inextricably linked to the upheavals of this region of the world, adds that of the author … the life drive that carries this book and the ultimate awareness that she owes her carefree childhood and her ability to savour every moment of happiness to this parental silence.”
Carol Binder, Actualité Juive, 37 N° 1691 - 1er juin 2023. 📖

“Stuck between the fears born of anti-Semitic persecutions, and the hopes aroused by the advent of the new man, he appears in his daughter's portrait as both incapable of being and incapable of not being Jewish.”
K. La Revue, 19 avril 2023. 📖

“The summer my father died…is one of the texts I recently read that I have a hard time letting go of. …A future classic, I hope…”
MonicaAddict-Culture, 20 juin 2023.  📖

“A remarkably written book...dazzling…”
Nathalie ZajdeRadio RCJ, 06/06/23.  📖

“Fortunately, Yudit Kiss knows how to laugh in the dark, fortunately she knows how to love against all odds, fortunately she writes with grace because without these strengths of mind and heart, the pages she gives us about Hungary and his father would be unbreathable: it is the story of a happy utopia, the radiant future of communist universalism, which became the monstrous utopia of Soviet domination with the destruction of a Jewish family in the background. One among others, hers.”
Joëlle Kuntz, Le Temps, 02 octobre 2023.  📖

“Yudit Kiss excels at bringing together general and personal history, shaking up the chronology, navigating between countries and cultures, focusing on the random dimensions of each action, the complexity of all decision-making … in all these forms of resilience, the insistent question of the meaning of a life, chosen or endured, and its consequences for subsequent generations is raised. “
Sylvie Bressler, Esprit. 2024. No. 5 (May),   📖

English edition

“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 riveting.”
Lisa Appignanesi, author of Losing the Dead and All About Love: Anatomy of an Unruly Emotion

"A moving and insightful memoir, excellently translated by George Szirtes ..."
Elaine Feinstein, Times Literary Supplement, 15. 02. 2013.

"The Summer My Father Died is such a rich book that no book review can ever do it justice. One must read it.”
Eva S. Balogh, Hungarian Spectrum, October 14, 2012. 📖

"... well-written book which gives a detailed picture of daily life under a communist regime (...) all times interesting and often moving, for this is above all a human story”
Tom Cunliffe,  A Common Reader

“ is also about a family’s sacrifice and an individual’s survival under conditions ... of hell, about a rejection of a past and its rediscovery, it’s about all the contradictions and half-truths people use to get by. But most of all it is about love, family love, which makes this a warm beautiful tale full of poetic insight, written by someone with a love of the written word.”
Parrish Lantern,  October 12, 2012. 📖

“...tells the story of one Hungarian family, but it’s about all of us.”
Gillian PolackBiblioBuffet

“The book dips in and out between past and present, pinning snatches of memory from different decades between the more fixed frame of the story of a father’s gradual death and decline in hospital.”
Vanessa Curtis, The Jewish Quarterly, November 23, 2012. 📖

“...beautifully written memoir ... a highly personal account of a fascinating historical period ... It is about coming to terms with the loss of a parent, reconciling differences in view, and understanding where you come from.”
Kate Wilson, katejwilson, 10 December 2012.📖

“In its best moments, the book shines a light on the distortions of Jewish memory under Soviet rule, and relates previously unknown fragments of Central European Jewish history.”
Ilse Josepha Lazaroms, The Jewish Quarterly, Volume 60, Issue 1, 2013. 

“... a colorful chronicle (…) It is particularly interesting to learn how she embraces her almost forgotten Jewishness during a visit to Kraków and what she thinks about the “ethnic cleansing” perpetrated by the Serbians during the Bosnian War, but a conversation with a Gypsy boy about Seneca in the Budapest metro and another one with a Spanish anarchist who recommends to Kiss the reading of Arthur Koestler are also worthy of attention. The English critic who called this book “a remarkable memoir” is altogether right, thanks, among other things, to its very fluent rendering into English by the prizewinning Hungarian-born English poet George Szirtes.
George Gömöri, World Literature Today, July 2013. 📖

“I learnt a lot about the post war history of Hungary (..) Although Yudit's search for the truth about her father is specific, it also relates to the experience of the families of many people who went through the traumas of the Second World War and its aftermath. The book is a pleasure to read, poetically written and translated.”
Sue Glynn, NewBooksMag.  

“...a powerful memoir. It is similar to Remind Me Who I Am, Again by Linda Grant and is a wonderful book that deserves more attention. “
Compass Points, Compass Points, 15 February 2013. 📖

“…the canvas expands until we realize that this is an impossible-to-ignore picture of the 20th century’s central tragedy. Kiss … tells her story with great imagination and grace, leading us through the political, ethnic and personal aspects of the life she’s lived.”
Robert Fulford, National Post, 7 Oct, 2014.

Czech edition

“One of the three most remarkable books of the year.” (2010)
Ivan Klíma, author of Love and Garbage and My mad century

"...a lively, very interesting book that emerges from our real world, with captivatingly rich details. A book of genuinely Eastern European dimensions." 
Anna Valentová,, Nov. 29. 2007. 📖

“It’s an essay-like book full of quotes that suddenly dives into the deep layers of soul then smoothly surfaces with irony; it has a playful sense of time like the masters of magic realism.” 
Ema Stašová, Novinky, 26 November 2010. 📖

“This book can be read in many ways. As a story of a Jewish family that broke apart in the storms of history. As the internal development of a young woman sorting out her views on democracy, faith, home and family. As a reflection on the existential questions of human life. As a living textbook of history, psychology and philosophy. And last but not least, a list of recommended readings for all open-minded readers. True, it's probably more than what we expect from quality fiction. But the reader, who wants to find incentive for self-development and understanding, would not be disappointed.”
Kateřina Anna Šrubařová,, 20 December 2010. 📖

“Maybe Yudit Kiss’ apparently conventional narrative style opens a distinctive way of women’s writing, which does not sweep conflicts under the carpet, but is not conflictive, does not want to identify enemies and tell solutions from the very beginning, but elegantly exposes the issues in their specific context.”
Marta Pató,  📖

“...the novel describes how deeply embedded ideology may irreparably destroy relationships between people who could be the closest to each other”
Ivana Myšková, Mozaika, ČRo Vltava Radio Station

Hungarian edition

“This book must be read!”
Georg Klein, author of Piéta and The Atheist and the Holy City

“Nice and serious book”
Ádám Nádasdy, linguist, poet and translator

“I was very taken and impressed by it … it reflects the atmosphere, the struggles of those years (…) the authentic presentation of the changes of Jewish-Communist identity has a historic value.”
Géza Komoróczy, historian, author of Religions in ancient Mesopotamia and The history of Jews in Hungary

“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, filmmaker, author of Mephisto and The taste of sunshine

“Very interesting, very beautiful and I am particularly moved by it.”
Ádám Biró, author of Two Jews on a train and Les ancétres d'Ulysse 

“Few texts have moved me as much as your writing about life during the hell of 1944 in Budapest. … Your words certainly helped to change my haze of this unlikely world. (…) The summer my father died is enjoyable and shocking, among others, because it tells my story as well!”
George Láng, author of Nobody knows the truffles I have seen

"It is the level of perception that raises the book, the sense of meaning as it deepens and becomes at once more tender and more icy. This tenderness and iciness, it proclaims, is what it means to be human. More than that - if there can be more than that for a human - it is meaning. "
George Szirtes,, 23 November 2006. 

" …cruel confrontation with the father, with the period, with the unpronounced words. This book tells us about illness and death, but also about life and ideals in the shadow of the 20th century, in this Europe full of confusions. "
Szabó Elvira, 
" The literary transformation of the autobiography by a detached, calm narrator, and the level of its integration into the concrete historical and political context recalls Gyorgy Konrad's book: "Departure and return". 
Ágoston Zoltán, Élet és irodalom, március 2, No. 9. 2007. 📖

"...the dynamic, captivating style, the rich metaphors and associations help the reader to identify with this moving story. " 
Balikó Helga, Alexandra Könyvjelző, Vol. III. 5. május 2007.

"...telling this family history, in its center with the figure of the father, the professor, a determined communist to his last breath, and his daughter, whose gradual awakening is also related; presenting the "Communist version" of the Jewish destiny, YK tells an untold story, which, even though it has not been discussed, impregnates our days. "
Kardos András, Élet és irodalom, november 23. No. 47. 2007. 📖

"...surprising, interesting, moving stories from the Hungarian history, the secrets of the past forced open…"
Lőkös Ildikó, Kritika, Vol. XXXVII. No.3. március 2008.
“... the material of the novel is treated with great maturity, with the intention of showing everything that is essential…"
Kardos András, In: A. Kardos: Kritikus apák. Alföld Könyvek, Alföld Alapítvány, Debrecen, 2008.

“...she writes in a way that would make many professionals feel ashamed. Economically, plastically ...she can manage well the tension of the text as well. I would like to read more!” Horváth Györgyi, Litera survey on the best books of the year, 2007. 

“She presents, with wide brushstrokes, how the dictatorships of the 20th century formed – and deformed – personal life.”
Zsuzsa Szarka, Szombat, 5 July, 2014. 📖