The Summer My Father Died

Apám halálának nyara,  Noran,  Budapest 2006. 
Léto, kdy otec zemrel,  Czech translation by Anna Valentová, Dybbuk, Praha, 2010.
The Summer My Father Died,  English translation by George Szirtes, Telegram, London, 2012.
L’été où mon père est mort. French translation by Clara Royer, Editions de l’Antilope, Paris, 2023.

The book relates the destiny of two Hungarian families in the context of the major events of 20th century Hungarian history. The father comes from a well-to-do Jewish family, almost completely annihilated during the war. The mother comes from a family of landless servants from one of the poorest regions of the country. The father denies his Jewish roots, the mother is not aware of them. After the Second World War they rebuild their lives and, committed Communists, bring up their daughters according to this ideology. Structured around the death of the father, the book also relates the narrator’s slow awakening process, through which she discovers her Jewish origins and realizes the shortcomings of the Communist ideology, giving an insight to the experience of a generation that grew up in the decades of Hungary’s “Goulash Communism”. 


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

“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 

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

“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 

In 2013 The Summer My Father Died was recommended reading in the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize list of the British Booktrust.

The Summer My Father Died was finalist for the 2014 JQ-Wingate Prize.


Some pages in French here and here. In German, here.