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The Door

The Door

The Door

By Magda Szabo
Introduction by Ali Smith
Translated by Len Rix

One of The New York Times Book Review‘s “10 Best Books of 2015”

Winner of the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize and the Prix Femina Étranger

“I remember the feeling I had only a few pages in: that this was a voice unlike any I’d ever read—elevated, almost cold, but bristling with passion beneath the surface—and that the book was very, very good.” —Emily Temple, Lit Hub’s ’10 Best Translated Novels of the Decade’

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

“A superbly controlled and involving work of art. . .One of Szabó’s triumphs is to have written a profound political novel that is rooted in the domestic.” —Liam McIlvanney, London Review of Books

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.

288 pages
NYRB Classics, 2015
Originally published in 1987
5 x 8 x 0.5 inches
ISBN 9781590177716

$17.95 $17.95