Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Enemies of the People

The strange thing about the book, Enemies of the People by Kati Marton is that there was a story to write at all.  Enemies is the story of Marton's parents, Endre and Ilona, and their role in reporting news from Hungary during the Cold War.  That sounds like the basis of a good story, but that story had already been written.  Both of Marton's parents wrote memoirs (Endre's was published and Ilona's was not) prior to their deaths.  So what more could their daughter say?

It seems that in telling their stories, Endre and Ilona were still not able to trust their audience, and were self-censoring by leaving out the parts that they thought may have raised concerns about them in their new country, the United States, or caused problems for the people who they left behind in Hungary.  Kati Marton's story is more complete, as she was granted access to the files on her parents kept by Hungary's former secret police, and to some extent, to the files that the FBI maintained on them as well.  What she learned was how hard her parents struggled to protect their children, their friends, their dignity, and the professional standards of journalism, all while facing daily monitoring and for part of their lives, detention.

While reading this book, I had crazy, vivid dreams that had to have been triggered by the story.  For instance, in one dream I killed a woman who was an agent of a government occupying the US by stomping on her throat.  Really.  I've never had a violent dream before this.  While Enemies is an interesting story, I had no idea the impression that it was making on my subconscious mind.

Next Up:  Sunnyside by Glen David Gold

Still Listening to Parrot and Olivier in America  by Peter Carey.  This is a great story so far.  3 discs in, it is set partially in France during the French Revolution, and partially in England during the same period.  The characters are fantastic, especially Olivier.  The person reading the story to me does a voice for Olivier that at first sounded like a young Pepe le Pew, but which already seems to fit Olivier perfectly.

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