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Budapest, 1956. In this darkest year in the modern history of Hungary, a national uprising against Soviet occupiers and their reign of terror is underway. Eleven year old Evike and her firebrand mother steal deep into battle zones in support of civilian freedom fighters armed only with primitive weapons and desperate courage against the heavy artillery of trained Russian troops. Taken in for interrogation by the secret police, little Evike spins a story to deflect attention from her mother's revolutionary activities. A story that will irrevocably alter a number of lives and reach its tentacles, thirty years later, into the life of Ildiko Palmay.
Chicago, 1986. Ildiko, 37, a librarian and ESL teacher, the American-born daughter of Hungarian refugees, is caught in a web of guilt and regret over her mother's mystifying death. Unsettled by her life and her romantic failures, she finds herself suddenly and unexpectedly drawn back to her roots, first to the Hungarian neighborhood of her youth in Chicago and eventually to the Russian-occupied city of Budapest. Along the way, she meets a magnetic man who may not be what he seems, uncovers a trail of secrets and betrayals that eventually intersect with the tangled knot of the mother-daughter participants in the Revolution and she discovers the shocking truth about her mother's death.
"Triptych" is the suspenseful unfolding of two parallel stories of mother and daughter relationships forged in the brutalities of the 1956 Hungarian revolution. "The Triptych" is about survival, displacement, the corrosive power of secrets, and, ultimately, the healing power of forgiveness.