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The Resource The door, Magda Szabo ; translated from the Hungarian by Len Rix ; introduction by Ali Smith

The door, Magda Szabo ; translated from the Hungarian by Len Rix ; introduction by Ali Smith

Label
The door
Title
The door
Statement of responsibility
Magda Szabo ; translated from the Hungarian by Len Rix ; introduction by Ali Smith
Creator
Contributor
Author
Translator
Subject
Genre
Language
  • eng
  • hun
  • eng
Summary
"The Door is an unsettling exploration of the relationship between two very different women. Magda is a writer, educated, married to an academic, public-spirited, with an on-again-off-again relationship with Hungary's Communist authorities. Emerence is a peasant, illiterate, impassive, abrupt, seemingly ageless. She lives alone in a house that no one else may enter, not even her closest relatives. She is Magda's housekeeper and she has taken control over Magda's household, becoming indispensable to her. And Emerence, in her way, has come to depend on Magda. They share a kind of love--at least until Magda's long-sought success as a writer leads to a devastating revelation. Len Rix's prizewinning translation of The Door at last makes it possible for American readers to appreciate the masterwork of a major modern European writer"--
Member of
Storyline
Character
Award
New York Times Notable Book, 2015
Review
  • In this poignant but long-winded novel by the late Hungarian author SzabÃ3, a writer recounts her decades-long relationship with—and eventual betrayal of—her enigmatic and emotionally volatile housekeeper. The story opens in postwar Hungary, narrated from old age by the protagonist, who remains unnamed for much of the novel. After having their careers “politically frozen,” the narrator and her husband (also a writer) begin to work again and seek out domestic help for their new home in Budapest. They hire Emerence Szeredás, a local peasant with an air of authority and “strength like a Valkyrie.” Though Emerence initially proves an antagonistic worker—attacking the narrator’s belief in God, for instance—she eventually develops a deep affection for, and reliance upon, her employers. Over the years, she reveals secrets about her childhood and her peripheral involvement in Hungary’s troubled political past, ultimately inviting the narrator into her apartment, which she notoriously—and suspiciously—protects. SzabÃ3 is a master tension builder, and Emerence’s demise (foretold in the novel’s opening pages) is heartbreakingly rendered. But an abundance of unnecessary detail weighs down what is otherwise a lucid and politically intriguing character study. (Jan.) --Staff (Reviewed November 24, 2014) (Publishers Weekly, vol 261, issue 48, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ A deeply affecting novel, first published in Hungary in 1987, from one of Europe's most prominent modern writers.Szabó's narrator, not coincidentally named Magda, recalls an emotionally fraught 20-year relationship with her housekeeper. As the book opens in postwar communist Hungary, a decadelong political freeze on her writing career has been lifted and Magda seeks out a domestic helper to care for her and her husband's new home in Budapest while she begins to write again. Through an old classmate's recommendation, she meets Emerence Szeredás, an inscrutable older woman built like a "mythological hero" whose years of experience working in the neighborhood have rendered her a revered and almost iconic figure in town. Right off the bat, Magda learns that Emerence won't just work for anybody: "This was the first time anyone had required references from us." And after hijacking the interview, Emerence waits a whole week before appearing again to accept the job. Though beloved by many, Emerence keeps her complicated history private and lives alone in a flat—hermetically sealed off from the rest of the world—that even her closest friends are forbidden to enter. From the start of their relationship, Magda is perplexed by the enigmatic woman who is so unlike her—a peasant, "anti-intellectual," and staunch atheist—but who moves and speaks with an inimitable elegance ("Emerence…was perfect in every respect; at times oppressively so") and shows a resolute indifference toward Magda for the first five years of her employment. As the years wear on, though, an intimacy manifests between the two that can only be described as landing somewhere between an endearing mother-daughter relationship and that of a contemptuous love affair. Their story is utterly compelling and often unnerving. Magda turns to Emerence for affirmation, and Emerence doles out her affection for Magda in peculiar, sometimes volatile, acts, eventually making the grand gesture of inviting Magda into her apartment. But things take a turn for the worse and terror ensues when Magda's career takes off and Emerence falls gravely ill. Szabó discerns the complex nature of human emotion with sensitivity and prowess in this hypnotizing work of art. A haunting exploration of age, class, love, and loss that demands to be read and read again.(Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2016)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10399392
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1917-2007
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Szabó, Magda
Dewey number
894/.51133
Index
no index present
LC call number
PH3351.S592
LC item number
A7413 2015
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
Rix, L. B.
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Series statement
New York Review Books classics literature
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Women
  • Hungary
Target audience
adult
Label
The door, Magda Szabo ; translated from the Hungarian by Len Rix ; introduction by Ali Smith
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
21 cm.
Extent
ix, 262 pages
Isbn
9781590177716
Isbn Type
(paperback : alk. paper)
Lccn
2014034376
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 880370198
  • (OCoLC)880370198
Label
The door, Magda Szabo ; translated from the Hungarian by Len Rix ; introduction by Ali Smith
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
21 cm.
Extent
ix, 262 pages
Isbn
9781590177716
Isbn Type
(paperback : alk. paper)
Lccn
2014034376
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 880370198
  • (OCoLC)880370198

Library Locations

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