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The Barber from Budapest & other stories is a memoir of survival, hope and love. It follows the life of Andras, born in Hungary before the cataclysmic changes of World War II tore at the fabric and heart of his world, and it is written by Andras' daughter, Liz.'By luck or by miracle', Andras lived through childhood tuberculosis and extreme hardship in the years leading up to and during the War.A gentle man with great strength of character and a quirky sense of humour, he enriched the lives of all he met.Serendipitously, he befriended Iren, the spirited and beautiful 'girl from the Tobacco Factory', who was every bit as industrious and courageous as himself. In time, she would become his sweetheart, and then his devoted wife.Escaping poverty, the oppression of Soviet-occupied Hungary, and the clutches of the AVO (secret police) after the Revolution of 1956, Andras fled his homeland and brought his family to Australia. After spending time in Bonegilla, they settled in Canberra and it was here that Andras achieved recognition as The Barber from Budapest.
The family has ties to Canberra's old history, having lived in The Buggy Shed at the rear of The Constable's Cottage on Lennox Crossing in Acton from early 1959 to circa 1961.Determined to give her children a better life than her own, Iren, Liz's mother, nurtured the family with a delicious repertoire of Hungarian dishes - the recipes of which have been chronicled within the book.This poignant memoir is Liz's tribute to her forebears, and is a powerful glimpse into their lives as refugees and as a family at peace. The book comprises three parts: Part One, Reminiscences Andras: is a narrative spanning 1916 to 1957 in Hungary and Austria, captured by the author in a 1997 oral history interview with her father, and woven into a series of stories, together with his writings.Part Two, Recollections and Musings Liz: is a collection of vignettes, in which the author reflects on the past, the present and the past - taking the reader from Bonegilla in Victoria, to Acton in Canberra's old inner north, back to the 'old country' in Hungary, and Malua Bay on the NSW south coast.Part Three: is dedicated to a handful of treasured family recipes, in which Liz offers inspiration through richly evocative stories and the gift of a wonderful Hungarian feast.
Sprinkled throughout the book are remarkable photographs - old and new - from the author's private collection.A percentage of royalties from the sales of The Barber from Budapest & other stories will be donated to The International Organization for Migration (IOM).