Author: Iván Sándor
Translator: Tim Wilkinson
Original language: Hungarian
Published by: Peter Owen, 2014
In 2002 a Jewish man recalls the dying days of the Hungary’s Nazi occupation and how, as a fourteen-year-old, he and his family were to be sent to the death camps – before coming under the protection of legendary Swiss Vice-Consul, Carl Lutz, who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from almost-certain death.
Decades on he tries to make sense of his own past, his country and to learn more about the Wallander-like figure who risked his own life to protect him and countless others. As one of Lutz’s survivors, he is invited by Swiss television to attend the opening of a film about him. He looks on as history is repackaged and presented as a media event.
Iván Sándor’s haunting novel, newly translated into English, follows three interweaving strands: the story of the narrator’s flight, the extraordinary achievements of Carl Lutz and the experience of the older man recalling the past. Beyond the story itself, Legacy investigates history, memory and how we understand the past – and how the past is shaped by whoever happens to be telling the story.