I am Fifteen and I Do Not Want to Die: The True Story of One Woman's Wartime Survival

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9780007303021: I am Fifteen and I Do Not Want to Die: The True Story of One Woman's Wartime Survival

The compelling and moving narrative of a young girl caught by the tides of marching armies during the siege of Budapest in 1945.

Told with a calm compulsive force, and with an intimacy and maturity that defies her years, Christine Arnothy’s story is a poignant coming-of-age memoir, and a remarkable tale of ordinary lives destroyed by war.

Christine tells of ther terrible experiences in Budapest in early 1945, as the siege which was to kill some 40,000 civilians raged around her and her family. By the end of the siege over eighty per cent of the buildings in the city were destroyed or damaged including all five bridges over the Danube.

Hiding in cellars, venturing out only when the noise of battle momentarily receded in a desperate search for food and water, they wondered if the Germans or the Russians would be victorious and under which they would fare best. Praying she would survive, and mourning the loss of some of her fellow refugees, Christine found solace in her imagination and dreamt of becoming a writer at the end of the war.

Her subsequent adventures include a dramatic escape over frontier into to Vienna and freedom (or so she had imagined), and a search for a new life in Paris, leaving her parents in an Allied refugee camp.

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Review:

"Outstanding in the literature of war. It has the abruptness, shadows and tensions of the best films, but superimposed is the knowledge that the cruelty and destruction are true."
The Times

"She is one of the few writers capable of describing what it feels like to be an innocent sufferer under Communism. It is well worth reading for its brilliant descriptions of past horrors and present misery. She has told this story with evident honesty and fine reporting skill."
Manchester Guardian

"This book has won the Prix Verité. There could not have been a better choice for it merits this honour and will take its place among the best books written on the war."
Die Andere Zeitung, Hamburg

"One has the feeling on reading this book that nothing in it is false or invented, but that it is absolutely sincere."
Il Ragguagio Librario, Italy

"A great work, human and profound."
La Cité, Brussels

"She writes with simplicity and an overwhelming sincerity."
Livres de France

"Moving and terrifying."
Arts et Lettres

About the Author:

Christine Arnothy, daughter of an Austro-Hungarian father and a German-Polish mother, was born in Budapest in 1930. She worked as a journalist for nearly forty years, and has published many novels as well as her volumes of autobiography. She now divides her time between Geneva and Paris.

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Arnothy, Christine
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