New Reimagined Historical Fiction from Elizabeth Lukács Chesla!
In YOU CANNOT FORBID THE FLOWER, the daughter of a Hungarian refugee tells the story of her father’s death in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution as he becomes some of the nearly 3,000 Hungarian Freedom Fighters and civilians killed as the Soviets brutally crushed the rebellion. This hybrid novel weaves together stories, poems, historical documents, memoir, and facts about Hungary and the revolution in an attempt to make sense of the twelve days that defined her father and his homeland. From the history of Transylvania where her father was born, to the first shots fired on the peaceful protestors at parliament, to the history of the Molotov cocktail, the Freedom Fighters’ chief weapon against the Soviet tanks, Chesla explores the causes and consequences of the revolution in the hope of keeping their memories, and their fight, alive.
“YOU CANNOT FORBID THE FLOWER is a dark joy of a book. In this profoundly American document, Elizabeth Lukács Chesla uses the empathetic engine of historical fiction to chronicle her immigrant father’s imagined life in Hungary, during the war, across time and country, and through to the other side, driving backwards and forwards across borders. The stops and starts, photographs and fables, poems and peonies: these fragments accumulate, adding weight to memory with heavy thread. A singular and gifted storyteller, Chesla unravels and re-stitches her inheritance to help us make sense of our own deep need to make sense. She unearths the tangled roots that make possible all bloom.” – Kirsten Kaschock, author of Sleight and Explain This Corpse
Elizabeth Lukács Chesla is the daughter of Hungarian refugees and a mother of three. After earning her MA from Columbia University, she spent a decade teaching writing and literature in New York City, then moved back home to the Philadelphia suburbs to raise her family. She is the author of multiple books on reading, writing, and critical thinking skills and has served as a managing and developmental editor for nonprofit organizations including the International Committee of the Red Cross. Along the way she developed and taught online writing and literature courses for homeschoolers, became a yoga teacher specializing in support for hypermobility and trauma, and co- founded a weekly embodied writing group for women. She leads writing and yoga workshops, develops humanities content for educational publishers, and serves as an editor for emerging authors. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Quarter After Eight, The Tattooed Buddha, and Flare, a flash fiction anthology. This is her first book of fiction.