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Biography & Autobiography Personal Memoirs

Storyteller, The

Memory, Secrets, Magic and Lies

by (author) Anna Porter

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Aug 2006
Personal Memoirs, Holocaust, France
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2006
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2009
    List Price

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Born in 1889, Anna Porter's grandfather, Vili Racz, was a patriot and Olympic athlete, a magician and a lawyer, a publisher and a prisoner, a philanderer and a devoted family man. On long walks through the once-grand European capital of Budapest, in confidences whispered in splendid fin-de-siecle coffee houses, Vili shared his stories of heroes and hardships, war and revolution. Vili's stories are the foundation of this vivid memoir, which follows Anna and her family from the tumultuous years of the Second World War to the Hungarian Revolution and their exile to New Zealand. Through young Anna's eyes, we accompany her to prison with her mother, see her beloved Vili unjustly sentences to hard labour, and witness unspeakable human loss in the streets of Budapest during the failed uprising against the Communists.

About the author

Anna Porter was born in Budapest, Hungary, during the Second World War and escaped with her mother at the end of the 1956 revolution to New Zealand, where she graduated with an MA from Christchurch University. Like so many young Kiwis, after graduation she travelled to London, England, where she had her first taste of publishing. In 1968, she arrived in Canada, and was soon swept up in the cultural explosion of the 1970s. At McClelland & Stewart, run by the flamboyant Jack McClelland, she quickly found herself at the heart of Canadian publishing. In 1982, she founded Key Porter Books and published such national figures as Farley Mowat, Jean Chrétien, Conrad Black, and Allan Fotheringham. She went on to write both fiction and nonfiction works, including Kasztner’s Train, which won the Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and the Jewish Book Award, The Ghosts of Europe, which won the Shaughnessey Cohen Prize for Political Writing, and has published four mystery novels. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Order of Ontario. She lives in Toronto with her husband, Julian Porter. Visit her at

Anna Porter's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Luminously melancholy...haunting and powerful...a feat of magic."

Globe & Mail

"Enchanting...this is a fascinating story, movingly told...The Storyteller speaks eloquently to the uses -- and misuses -- of history and the power of narrative...Vili would have been proud."

The National Post

"The Storyteller shows that great storytellers are both born and made. Like grandfather, like granddaughter."


"A superb book; finely written, embracing in its vision, and full of the little touches that make good memoirs come alive."

The Edmonton Journal

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