Prime Edition

The inevitable burden of memory

19th Jan 2013

The Book of Summers

Emylia Hall

Headline Review

Pages: 324 Rs. 499

For Erszebet Lowe, an art curator in London, summers no longer evoke pleasant memories, for they are forever tainted by her first ever visit to Hungary when she was nine years old. When the wall between East and West Germany came down, her Hungarian mother Marika decided she can no longer stay away from her real home. The ruptures she creates in the process – Erszi's father is reduced to a shuffling, drained man and their home to a vacant, lifeless space – are bridged over in her mind as she visits Marika and her artist boyfriend in Hungary over summer break, embalmed as they are by the natural beauty that surrounds them and her first love. That is until one fateful summer when she learns a truth that will shatter her. She is forced to revisit the past and come to terms with the truth when a package arrives at her doorstep. Emylia Hall's debut novel is a beautifully written coming-of-age tale that captures the spirit of East Europe beautifully as it dwells on nostalgia, maturity and forgiveness.

— Nidhi Gupta

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