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Iza's Ballad

Iza's Ballad

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By Magda Szabó

“Some books, like some people, require great patience and attention to fully understand their complexity and beauty. Szabo teaches us lucky readers this very lesson through Iza’s Ballad, one that perfect but songless Iza could never learn.” —Lauren Groff, The New York Times

“This rich novel is a startling reminder that it is possible to speak regularly, and with good intentions, to family members without ever coming an inch closer to understanding one another.” —Priyanka Kumar, Santa Fe New Mexican

“A ruthless exploration of the damage we inflict on one another in the name of love.” —The Independent

Like Magda Szabó’s internationally acclaimed novel The Door, Iza’s Ballad is a striking story of the relationship between two women, in this case a mother and a daughter. Ettie, the mother, is old and from an older world than the rapidly modernizing Communist Hungary of the years after World War II. From a poor family and without formal education, Ettie has devoted her life to the cause of her husband, Vince, a courageous magistrate who had been blacklisted for political reasons before the war. Iza, their daughter, is as brave and conscientious as her father: Active in the resistance against the Nazis, she is now a doctor and a force for progress. Iza lives and works in Budapest, and when Vince dies, she is quick to bring Ettie to the city to make sure her mother is close and can be cared for. She means to do everything right, and Ettie is eager to do everything to the satisfaction of the daughter she is so proud of. But good intentions aside, mother and daughter come from two different worlds and have different ideas of what it means to lead a good life. Though they struggle to accommodate each other, increasingly they misunderstand and hurt each other, and the distance between them widens into an abyss...

Paperback
352 pages 
NYRB Classics, 2016
Originally Published in 1963
5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches 
ISBN 9781681370347
Fiction

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