Triptych

Overview

Budapest, 1956.  In this darkest year in the modern history of Hungary, a national uprising against Soviet occupiers and their reign of terror is underway. Eleven year old Evike and her firebrand mother steal deep into battle zones in support of civilian freedom fighters armed only with primitive weapons and desperate courage against the heavy artillery of trained Russian troops. Taken in for interrogation by the secret police, little Evike spins a story to deflect attention from her mother’s revolutionary ...

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Overview

Budapest, 1956.  In this darkest year in the modern history of Hungary, a national uprising against Soviet occupiers and their reign of terror is underway. Eleven year old Evike and her firebrand mother steal deep into battle zones in support of civilian freedom fighters armed only with primitive weapons and desperate courage against the heavy artillery of trained Russian troops. Taken in for interrogation by the secret police, little Evike spins a story to deflect attention from her mother’s revolutionary activities. A story that will irrevocably alter a number of lives and reach its tentacles, thirty years later, into the life of Ildiko Palmay.
 
Chicago, 1986. Ildiko, 37, a librarian and ESL teacher, the American-born daughter of Hungarian refugees, is caught in a web of guilt and regret over her mother's mystifying death. Unsettled by her life and her romantic failures, she finds herself suddenly and unexpectedly drawn back to her roots, first to the Hungarian neighborhood of her youth in Chicago—and eventually to the Russian-occupied city of Budapest. Along the way, she meets a magnetic man who may not be what he seems, uncovers a trail of secrets and betrayals that eventually intersect with the tangled knot of the mother-daughter participants in the Revolution—and she discovers the shocking truth about her mother’s death. 
 
Triptych is the suspenseful unfolding of two parallel stories of mother and daughter relationships forged in the brutalities of the 1956 Hungarian revolution. The Triptych is about survival, displacement, the corrosive power of secrets, and, ultimately, the healing power of forgiveness.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Emotional closure can be more important than vengeance, as shown by this distinctive stand-alone from Liesche (Hollywood Buzz). In 1986, Ildiko Palmay, an American-born daughter of Hungarian immigrants who’s approaching middle age, is driven to resolve the death of her mother who, decades before, fell (or was she pushed?) from a Chicago “L” platform into the path of a train. As Ildiko gathers background information, tentatively begins a new romance, and plans a fact-finding trip to Hungary, it becomes clear that someone close to her wants to make sure that the past’s secrets remain buried. Vivid flashbacks from 1956 Budapest show the experiences of a troubled child and the constant fear of betrayal—by others or even by one’s self—that the dictatorship encourages. That dread is part of Ildiko’s heritage. Her fear is convincing, as is the courage it rouses during her pursuit of her quest. The complex character development makes up for some contrived plotting. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"Liesche (Hollywood Buzz, 2009, etc.), the daughter of Hungarian refugees, cleverly weaves her family’s history into a fine mystery that is an ever finer tale about finding one's roots."—Kirkus

"...Novelist Libby "Havana Lost" Fischer Hellmann, who has called this book "a beautifully penned, lyrical blend of past and present." She's right about that."—Chicago Tribune

"Liesche packs her wide-eyed adventure with tidbits about aeronautics, vintage Hollywood and the war, honoring the underappreciated women who made such a difference."—Kirkus review of Hollywood Buzz

"Liesche is a writer to watch"—Library Journal review of Lipstick and Lies

"A sharply written adventure/mystery debut with a fine feeling for the period."—Kirkus review of Lipstick and Lies

Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
A woman must uncover the secrets of the past before she can face her future. In 1940, Edit Palmay left Hungary for China to meet her missionary husband. After World War II, they made their way to Chicago, where they raised their family, including their youngest child, Ildiko. Born in America, Ildiko never really listened when her mother told her tales of the old country or recounted what happened when Edit went back to Budapest to try to discover what became of her vanished sister, who may have been either a hero of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution or a spy for the hated secret police force AVO. Not until Edit is killed when she falls, or is pushed, under a train does Ildiko resolve to discover what really happened. Her romance with a married man has ended badly, but her mother's Hungarian friends introduce her to Gustav, a talented photographer who was involved in the revolution before escaping from Hungary. It's Gustav who points out some unsettling features in an uncompleted triptych that Edit made for her in needlework, which apparently tells the story of one of Ildiko's favorite fairy tales. Traveling to Hungary to visit her relatives and retrace her mother's footsteps, Ildiko finds the country still in the grip of communism and her relatives afraid of revealing too much. Gustav has also made the trip to see his dying uncle, whose past is interwoven with Edit's. In a shocking turn, Ildiko discovers that her mother's killer had a motive that goes all the way back to the revolution. Liesche (Hollywood Buzz, 2009, etc.), the daughter of Hungarian refugees, cleverly weaves her family's history into a fine mystery that is an even finer tale about finding one's roots.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781464201806
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
  • Publication date: 10/8/2013
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

The author of LIPSTICK AND LIES and HOLLYWOOD BUZZ, WWII home front mysteries featuring the engaging WASP pilot Pucci Lewis and highly praised for their authenticity, Margit Liesche has appeared on PBS' History Detectives program.

The child of Hungarian missionaries who settled in the U.S. after WWII following years of service in China, she grew up near Chicago and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly 40 years. Margit's parents' stories about their family's experiences in 1956, told in dark, hushed conversations, filled an impressionable seven-year-old's imagination. These along with Life magazine photographs of carnage in Budapest streets and a visit from an escaped freedom fighter, underpin her new novel, TRIPTYCH.

In recovery from a long career in marketing professional services, Margit now does what she loves: writing, tramping the glorious hills near her home, and frequenting the stacks at her favorite bookstores and libraries.

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