The moment she discovers the existence of Richard, a long-lost relative, at Israel’s Holocaust Museum, Margaret McMullan begins an unexpected journey of revelation and connectivity as she tirelessly researches the history of her ancestors, the Engel de Jánosis. Propelled by a Fulbright cultural exchange that sends her to teach at a Hungarian University, Margaret, her husband and teenage son all eagerly travel to Pécs, the land of her mother’s Jewish lineage. After reaching Pécs, a Hungarian town both small and primarily Christian, Margaret realizes right then and there how difficult her mission is going to be.
Praise for Where The Angels Lived
Where the Angels Lived is a beautifully crafted memoir that readers of history will particularly enjoy. Anyone with a fascination for discovering forgotten chapters of their own lives will relate to Margaret McMullan's quest for the story of her ancestors. The book also made for a thoughtful book club selection, stimulating interesting conversation about the writing as well as the featured characters. This is a wonderful book to put in the hands of readers.
– Kelle Barfield, owner Lorelei Books
Riveting reading. Read full review.
McMullan has done more than tell this story masterfully... the memoir's inevitable look at the gradual nature of totalitarianism's growth resonates today, as both the U.S. and Hungary experience right-wing resurgences.
It’s emotional – and yet, in the end filled with hope and love...I cannot add words or commentary to something so beautifully lived and written. Read full review.
It is impossible to read this richly textured story and not be deeply moved by the lost voices who rise from the dead to speak in these pages. They, and we, should be forever grateful for their resurrection painfully and lovingly wrought by Margaret McMullan.
McMullan beautifully pieces together a family history and the history of a country and its ethnic groups to create a stirring and highly informative narrative, full of information, wonderful wisdom and anecdotes, both sorrowful and joyful.
They are entrepreneurs, musicians, lovers, builders and fighters, who, without the author's painstaking research, would have been erased from history forever.
Like Edmund de Waal's Hare with the Amber Eyes
, McMullan pieces together the lost story of her forgotten ancestor and reminds us all how easy it is for humans to willfully ignore the murderous past and contemporary evil.
An impressive textual monument of the impact of Nazi genocide and the Shoah on individual lives and family, even three generations after the actual events.
My Jewish ancestors lived in the very same place and were also killed the same way. The similarities make me cry, the differences make me smile. Common fate—small comfort.
Where the Angels Lived
is a powerful testament of familial mourning as well as a vision of 20th century European history that is both searing and uplifting.
An absolutely riveting story by an utterly engaging narrator--a triumphant blend of honesty, insight, research and imagination.
Into this terrifying moment of severe intolerance in America, arrives this meticulously researched, soul-driven account of the generational trauma caused by another country that turned on and gave up its own. Margaret McMullan did not ask for the assignment that sent her and her family to Hungary to mourn an unknown family member lost to the Holocaust, but her radical courage, determination and stamina in the face of that assignment is breathtaking, insisting we pay attention, to the crimes of the past and our actions in the present, because, of course, it can happen here.