The Door

The Door

eBook - 2015
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"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"--
Publisher: New York : New York Review Books, 2015
ISBN: 9781590178010
Characteristics: text file, rda

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List - Women in Translation
PrincetonPL Aug 15, 2018

Translated from the Hungarian


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k
kawidman
Dec 05, 2019

I just…have to go through the rest of my life without enough people to freak out about this book with!! At its simplest, it’s about the relationship between two women in post-WWII Hungary, a young writer and the secretive housekeeper she and her husband employ, but the complexity of the relationship encompasses friendship, antipathy, the familial, and something more mysterious that the narrator spends the book trying to get at the heart of. I saw myself in both characters, most precisely in the traits each had that caused the most frustration in the other, as well as in the community that observes them. I both want everyone to read it so we can talk about it, and also want to protect it (and myself) forever, or at least until I have a better idea of why it affected me so much.

f
fragola
Oct 20, 2019

Suggested by ML

w
wyenotgo
Sep 16, 2019

A powerful piece of work. The level of emotional intensity builds continually as the remarkable relationship between these two women ebbs and flows (and at times erupts)! In presenting Emerence, Szabö has given us one of the most intriguing characters I've encountered in literature for many years. I cannot imagine that she is totally fictitious; not only because the novel is semi-autobiographical, but also because I have in fact met several Hungarian women who possessed several (but certainly not all) of Emerence's characteristics: indomitable energy, passion, generosity, and above all, truculence. Such women can be exceedingly uncomfortable to deal with but they are always worth knowing.
I am certainly no fatalist but this tragic story left me shaking my head and asking how it could possibly have turned out differently once the wheels were set in motion. Above all, it reminds me in stark terms of our overwhelming need for human dignity, the loss of which is often far worse than death.
A strong 4+ stars.

g
gretchenbrown
Sep 14, 2019

Strong sense of the cultural and historic context but also timeless. A satisfying tribute to the contradictory traits of those who are a little too fierce but also exceptionally sensitive to living beings around them.

1
1aa
Sep 05, 2019

A rather awkward book to rate: its easy to read (there is no unusual vocabulary or kooky sentence structures), but the slow development of the relationship between the narrator and the real main character, Emerence, is the whole book. Through that relationship, social conformity, ambition, responsibilities to others, the purpose of life, and the matter of death are all addressed.

b
Bookiejb
Jul 06, 2019

I didn't understand Emerence's attachment to the author, Nor of course, her super human energy in all that she produced and did...
Especially, hard to take, is that she would allow her deterioration at the end, that all would then see; the neglect of her animals, and also, the furniture may not have been in the best shape, but Whoosh! to dissolve into dust?
Come on.
Suspend belief/magical fiction?
Besides that, it's a good read.

r
rheyven
Jun 25, 2019

Thank you Once Again to my local library - this was on the entry table of librarian suggestions - how I love finding gems like this that I'd NEVER find on my own. A real gem; cldn't put it down!

n
nitramytown
Feb 03, 2019

Magda Szabo has been one of my most favourite authors. Her writing is different than the typical, and the stories are interesting. It is then really a shame that most of her books are not translated into English. However, The Door is one of her weaker novels, quite dissapointing for me. Maybe something is lost in translation. Still good reading, though.

m
Magicworld
Dec 21, 2017

The Door is a deep, complex and disturbingly honest exploration of human nature and relationships. Powerful, magical and masterfully written!

s
santiano9
Oct 22, 2016

Wonderful, wonderful book. Enjoyed every page. A simple story about a very special caretaker touched me very much. i would recommend this book highly.

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