Told with a calm compulsive force‚ and with an intimacy and maturity that defies her years‚ Christine Arnothy's story is a poignant coming-of-age memoir‚ and a remarkable tale of ordinary lives destroyed by war.
Christine tells of ther terrible experiences in Budapest in early 1945‚ as the siege which was to kill some 40‚000 civilians raged around her and her family. By the end of the siege over eighty per cent of the buildings in the city were destroyed or damaged including all five bridges over the Danube.
Hiding in cellars‚ venturing out only when the noise of battle momentarily receded in a desperate search for food and water‚ they wondered if the Germans or the Russians would be victorious and under which they would fare best. Praying she would survive‚ and mourning the loss of some of her fellow refugees‚ Christine found solace in her imagination and dreamt of becoming a writer at the end of the war.
Her subsequent adventures include a dramatic escape over frontier into to Vienna and freedom (or so she had imagined)‚ and a search for a new life in Paris‚ leaving her parents in an Allied refugee camp.