Sweeping from postWWII rural Romania
to the cosmopolitan Budapest
of 1990, Christina Shea’s Smuggled
is the story of Eva Farkas, who loses her identity, quite literally, as a young child, when she is smuggled in a flour sack across the Hungarian border to escape the Nazis.
When five-year-old Eva is trafficked from Hungary
at the end of the war, she arrives in the fictional border town of Crisu
, a pocket of relative safety, where she is given the name Anca Balaj by her aunt and uncle, and instructed never to speak another word of Hungarian again. “Eva is dead,” she is told. As the years pass, Anca proves an unquenchable spirit, full of passion and imagination, with a lust for life even when a backdrop of communist oppression threatens to derail her at every turn. Time is layered in this quest for self, culminating in the end of the Iron Curtain and Anca’s reclaiming of the name her mother gave her. When she returns to Hungary
in 1990, the country is changing as fast as the price of bread, and Eva meets Martin, an American teacher who rents the apartment opposite hers and cultivates a flock of pigeons on his balcony. As Eva and Martin’s cross-cultural relationship deepens through their endeavor to rescue the boy downstairs from his abusive mother, Eva’s lifelong search for family and identity comes full circle.
An intimate look at the effects of history on an individual life, Smuggled
is a raw and fearless account of transformation, and a viscerally reflective tale about the basic need for love without claims.