A Miraculous Journey
May Eagen

Shoreline Press

While Eagen was being born in Hungary during the Second World War, her father was being killed at the front. For a time her mother struggled through the poverty that war left in its wake, but later remarried happily. Soon, though, Eagen’s stepfather died suddenly of a stroke, and then her mother died as well. Eagen was grudgingly accepted into an older sister’s home, and became the skivvy for her sister’s family.

One day Eagen witnessed an horrific event in her village: it was the early days of the Hungarian uprising and a child was hoisted onto a roof to plant the Hungarian flag in defiance of the Soviet occupiers. The child, and others, were mowed down in front of 14-year-old Eagen’s eyes. She walked to the border of Germany and Hungary in a fugue state (she was never able to remember that time later) and began the miraculous journey of the title.

Eagen almost floated into Canada, protected by the extraordinary kindness of strangers who appeared just when help was needed to speed her on her way. Her story is bracketed by unhappy experiences, but her focus on the exceptional nature of her journey adds a uncommon grace to this short memoir. mRb