|Translated By:||Rix, Len|
|Introduction By:||Smith, Ali|
|By (author):||Szabo, Magda|
|Subject:||FICTION / General|
|FICTION / Literary|
|FICTION / Psychological|
|FICTION / War & Military|
|Publisher:||New York Review Books|
|Size:||8.00in x 5.00in x 0.60in|
|From The Publisher*||One of The New York Times Book Review's "10 Best Books of 2015"|
An NYRB Classics Original
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 to 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.
Winner of the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize and the Prix Femina Étranger
"Beautifully translated by Len Rix...New York Review Books Classics-acting, yet again, in its capacity as the Savior of Lost Greats-has now delivered this version to an American audience. If you've felt that you're reasonably familiar with the literary landscape, ‘The Door' will prompt you to reconsider. It's astonishing that this masterpiece should have been essentially unknown to English-language readers for so long…suffice it to say that I've been haunted by this novel. Szabo's lines and images come to my mind unexpectedly, and with them powerful emotions. It has altered the way I understand my own life. [It is] a work of stringent honesty and delicate subtlety." -Claire Messud, The New York Times Book Review
"'The Door,' by Magda Szabo, is a Hungarian novel with the elemental force of a myth - the story of a middle-class writer and the servant who takes over her household and her life. Class dynamics, female friendship, the power of will - Szabo writes about them all with eerie fascination." -Adam Kirsch, The New York Times Book Review
"Szabó is a master tension builder, and Emerence's demise...is heartbreakingly rendered." -Publishers Weekly
"Szabo is a deft writer. She constructs the narrative around a deeply authentic friendship while leaving unresolved the main idea: How will you conduct yourself in your quest to be an authentic writer, and what are the costs to the people who care for you?" -Diane Mehta, The Rumpus
"Intimate and satisfying….the tension between Magda and her housekeeper is fascinating, and sometimes sickening as well….the story celebrates love, the kind that is too perfectly made to exist on Earth." -Claire Rudy Foster, Cleaver Magazine
|Biographical Note||Magda Szabó (1917–2007) was born into an old Protestant family in Debrecen, Hungary's "Calvinist Rome," in the midst of the great Hungarian plain. Szabó, whose father taught her to converse with him in Latin, German, English, and French, attended the University of Debrecen, studying Latin and Hungarian, and went on to work as a teacher throughout the German and Soviet occupations of Hungary in 1944 and 1945. In 1947, she published two volumes of poetry, Bárány (The Lamb), and Vissza az emberig (Return to Man), for which she received the Baumgartner Prize in 1949. Under Communist rule, this early critical success became a liability, and Szabó turned to writing fiction: her first novel, Freskó (Fresco), came out in 1958, followed closely by Az oz (The Fawn). In 1959 she won the József Attila Prize, after which she went on to write many more novels, among them Katalin utca (Katalin Street, 1969), Ókút (The Ancient Well, 1970), Régimódi történet (An Old-Fashioned Tale, 1971), and Az ajtó (The Door, 1987). Szabó also wrote verse for children, plays, short stories, and nonfiction, including a tribute to her husband, Tibor Szobotka, a writer and translator of Tolkien and Galsworthy who died in 1982. A member of the European Academy of Sciences and a warden of the Calvinist Theological Seminary in Debrecen, Magda Szabó died in the town in which she was born, a book in her hand. In 2017 NYRB Classics will publish Iza's Ballad (1963).|
Len Rix is a poet, critic, and former literature professor who has translated five books by Antal Szerb, including the novel Journey by Moonlight (available as an NYRB Classic) and, most recently, the travel memoir The Third Tower. In 2006 he was awarded the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize for his translation of The Door.
Ali Smith was born in Inverness, Scotland, in 1962 and lives in Cambridge. Her latest novel is How to Be Both.