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Fever At Dawn by Péter Gárdos

A story about compassion, love and drama. And, can you believe it's all based on a true story. 

After telling stories via movies all his life, award-winning director, Péter Gárdos, did not know until recently the hidden treasure chest of a story he was sitting on in his own family. When his father died in 1998, his mother handed him a stack of letters. Based on these ninety-six letters and set amidst the devastation of World War II, he has taken the liberty to chart out the story about two concentration camp survivors' search for love. 

Twenty-five year old Miklós is sent to Sweden by sea on a rainy summer's day just after the Second World War ends. He becomes gravely ill on the ship, but against all odds survives. But the illness is terminal, it is his sentence to death -- he is given six months -- and he decides he must do something with his life. Well what could be most fulfilling? He resolved to find himself a wife.

He decides on a course of action that involves writing to 117 Hungarian women, all of whom were also recovering in Sweden. He is certain that one of these women is destined to become his wife. 

Lili is one of the women who receives a letter. Confined to a bed, with a strange new illness, perhaps to escape boredom or out of fear, she decides to write back. What follows is a beautiful exchange in a "funny, absurd, hopeful epistolary dance." 

The story is original and bold. But the fact that it is in fact a true story makes it all the more intriguing. Not to mention that it has been translated from the Hungarian. It was a great story overall, but did feel that in some elements were lost in translation. The love story, although intriguing, lacked a certain sense of depth and intimacy. Perhaps it was because Fever At Dawn was written by the son of Miklós and Lili, and just like the rose-coloured filters of a
 Disney love story, a PG rating would probably suffice. 

Fever At Dawn is published by House Of Anansi Press

Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative and Social Media strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a branding blog:, as well as a lifestyle blog: T: @SukasaStyle) 

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