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