The Door by Magda Szabo is a fictionalized autobiography of the author s relationship with her octogenarian housekeeper named Emerence Szerebas A goodreads friend from Hungary recommended this novel to me because she sees that I enjoy reading women authors from around the globe Szabo wrote many prize winning novels during the course of her career, including both this book and the one depicted in it During the course of this award winning novel, the readers experience post life in post Holocaust Hungary as well as the baggage that survivors carry with them It is in this regard that we meet Emerence and the door barring people from her physical and emotional lives Magda and her husband are in need of a housekeeper as they are both too busy with their writing lives to care for their apartment on their own Friends and acquaintances tell them that an older woman is to be better trusted than a young woman who might spill and break things A caretaker of a villa down the street, Emerence is recommended to them A countrywoman from the twin towns of Csabadul Nadori, Emerence carries a lifetime of grief with her as she takes on cleaning job after cleaning job Even though she works for Magda for over twenty years and appears to be ageless, the writer does not see through the door to the peasant s soul until near the end of their relationship Orphaned by age thirteen and responsible for the death of her twin siblings, Emerence is sent to Budapest to work as a governess and housekeeper First employed by the Grossman family, she is entrusted to care for their daughter Eva as her own as the parents escape to the west for the duration of the Holocaust No questions asked, her family sees nothing but Emerence s shame, yet the Grossmans repay her generously for her selflessness Emerence as we later find out would have done this act of kindness without expecting anything in return As a result, she hides her treasure deep inside her new apartment, never to show anyone inside the door to her secrets By the time Emerence goes to work for Magda and her husband, nine rescued cats are her only companions and she cares for them as others would care for babies Despite the grief and despair occurred over a lifetime, Emerence has accumulated a neighborhood of admirers who see nothing but the Emerence who sweeps the streets, maintains an apartment building, and cares for others in their homes, including Magda Even her nephew does not know her secrets until later Emerence and Magda develop a deep relationship that is not fully realized until the end, including the shared caring for a dog named Viola who comes to see both women as her owners Even though Magda is seen as self absorbed and Emerence as cold, over the course of the novel I came to deeply admire the two women as did the people who lived in their neighborhood It takes courage to write about oneself in less than a positive light, yet Szabo does this in The Door Developing a trusting and loving relationship over many years between two unlikely people, readers enter through the figurative doorway to the protagonists souls Reading about the grief during post Holocaust Hungary was gut wrenching at times, and selfless people like Emerence should be lauded for their actions This novel is not for everyone, especially not people in search of happy characters Yet, The Door is an introspective novel that I enjoyed reading because I somehow could connect with the protagonists despite their at times cold dispositions A award winning novel, I rate The Door 4 quality stars. I know now, what I didn t then, that affection can t always be expressed in calm, orderly, articulate ways and that one cannot prescribe the form it should take for anyone else. What an unusual sort of book and a very peculiar relationship examined therein between Magda, the narrator of The Door, and her housekeeper, Emerence This novel really grabs you from the start right away the reader knows that there is some mystery surrounding these two disparate women Magda is a writer, privileged and becoming something of a public figure in her home country of Hungary Emerence is uneducated, hard working and tireless The difference in social class between these two would certainly seem to preclude them from establishing a friendship, and yet over time they do just that Yet, their relationship raises many questions about the various nuances that exist within a friendship What do each owe the other in this relationship Emerence s life is a swarm of secrets and plenty of hearsay about her background seems to be shared amongst the members of her community The symbolic meaning of the title The Door is shared with both Emerence s physical door to her homeNo one had ever seen Emerence s door standing open Guests were never invited in, and she took it very badly if anyone unexpectedly called her to come outas well as the barrier she creates to her inner self Still, she shares of herself in so many other ways shoveling the snow from walkways up and down her street, providing food for the sick, giving odd gifts of treasures that others may consider junk, and sheltering homeless animals She asks nothing in return except the respect of her privacy Magda struggles with this as she yearns to learn this woman s deepest secrets Emerence is privy to Magda and her husband sdirty linen , yet Magda knows very little about this woman that she allows into her home every day As time goes by, however, the various layers of Emerence are peeled back for Magda s eyes only and we, as readers, slowly learn about this eccentric as well While I enjoyed the slow reveal of Emerence s character, I still could not truly become attached to her Her manner was harsh and any bond with her was nothing short of volatile While she appeared to be non judgmental and magnanimous in her treatment of humanity at large, I found her to be just the opposite with those that were the closest to her, including both Magda and even the dog, Viola I know people like this and despite their goodness I still cannot reconcile myself to those traits that seem almost mentally abusive Emerence detests those that work with their minds rather than their hands and she was not afraid to point this out to MagdaYou think there ll always be someone to cook and clean for you, a plate full of food, paper to scribble on, the master to love you and everyone will live for eternity, like a fairy tale and the only problem you might encounter is bad things written about you in the papers, which I m sure is a terrible disgrace, but then why did you choose such a low trade, where any bandit can pour shit over you God knows how you got yourself a name You re not very bright, and you know nothing about peopleNo matter how charitable a person, what gives them the right to speak in this way to another human being Especially one they call a friend If Magda is expected to accept Emerence as she is, then should not the reverse be true Should Emerence not dole out the same respect Yet Magda wants to please Emerence and be worthy of her love almost in the same way as Viola the dog would do anything for her true master, Emerence In the end, will Magda stand by Emerence and do right by her Magda could become a bit watered down at times and play the role of an escapist But yet, in a friendship, what matters the most that we do exactly as our friend wishes us to do even if it goes against everything we believe in If we are the guardians of the door, do we have the right to open that door for others to see what has been entrusted only to us if we believe that this is the correct choice of action How to preserve the dignity of another human being is a question with no clear answer, but one which we all may need to consider at some time This was a thought provoking book which I found quite different from any I have read thus far I was not really a fan of either of the main characters, and since this was character driven this was a point that took away from my enjoyment just a bit Definitely a book worthy of discussion and for that I have given it 3.5 stars. Magda Szab s The Door an intense story, a haunting story, a fiercely compelling story of the relationship between two women living in a Hungarian village Magda, a married writer and Emerence, a mysterious housekeeper possessing qualities of epic proportions To my eye the above portrait by Hungarian born artist Csaba Markus captures what Emerence must have looked like as a younger woman Critical responses to The Door have been dramatic in the extreme Ali Smith a story of such savagery that it demands both silence and truth, Cynthia Zarin a bone shaking book, Deborah Eisenberg a white knuckle experience, Claire Messud It has altered the way I understand my own life Let me assure you, reading The Door and listening to Si n Thomas narrate the audio book makes for one riveting, unforgettable experience Published in 1987 by New York Review Books, The Door is translated into a fluid English by Len Rix and includes a short Introduction by Ali Smith Author Magda Szab acknowledges there s a strong element of autobiography at work We are in a Hungarian village and listen in as an established author by the name of Magda recounts her experience over the course of twenty years, from, say, about 1965 to 1985, living in a large apartment with her husband, a university instructor, and dog However, the heart of the heart of this tale centers around Magda and older Emerence, an illiterate woman of peasant stock with almost superhuman strength and endurance for work in the service of others.A number of other men and women strut and fret their minutes on the pages of the novel the son of Emerence s brother J zsi s boy , a Lieutenant Colonel and three old women, friends of Emerence Ad lka, Polett, Sutu but Emerence is the true dramatic presence and it is Emerence whom I will make the focus of my review Emerence as the 20th CenturyMagda figures Emerence was born around 1905 TheEmerence shares her tragic background, including losing her father as a young child, as a thirteen year old witnessing the death of her beautiful twin siblings during a storm followed immediately by the suicide of her mother, her orphan years during and after WWI, living through the atrocities and brutalities of WWII, thewe recognize Emerence embodies the twentieth century, especially twentieth century Hungary We feel her bitterness when she tells Magda You don t die that easily, but let me tell you, you come close to it Afterwards, what you went through makes you so clever you wish you could become stupid again, utterly stupid Well, I got clever, which shouldn t surprise you, because I was given training round the clock Emerence as a true Christian TheI learned of Emerence s unflinching love and ceaseless devotion to those in need women, men, children, animals theI was reminded of the 12th 13th century European women who became Beguines to embrace a life of poverty in order to care for the poor and sick Although Emerence is illiterate, she reminds me specifically of Marguerite Porete, a Beguine, mystic and author of The Mirror of Simple Souls emphasizing the power of love as infinitelyimportant than following Church rules Marguerite Porete, a truly free spirited woman was burned at the stake for heresy One can only wonder if Emerence would have been condemned to a similar fate if born in those Medieval years Emerence as Ancient Pagan Spirit When Magda reflects on the inner spirit of this powerful woman, she sprinkles in references to Homer, Hesiod and Greek mythology, references to Sophocles, Euripides and Greek tragedy Beneath Medea Emerence s headscarf glowed the fires of the underworld No doubt about it, Emerence, a woman of the Earth who is larger than life Emerence as Village Hero Over the years Emerence came in conflict with others in the village, a series of nasty incidents with a pigeon breeder comes immediately to mind But this tireless woman never permitted her dedication to her neighbors to slacken among her many chores clearing snow from eleven different buildings and raising Viola, the dog Magda and her husband take in Everyone trusted Emerence, but she trusted no one or, to beprecise, she doles out crumbs of trust to a chosen few the Lieutenant Colonel, me, Polett while she was alive, J zsi s boy and stray morsels to a few others Emerence as Monument Builder She was saving her strength for the time when she might actually do something about the past The drama of how exactly Emerence plans out her final tribute to those she held dear in her life is something to behold Emerence as fierce judge and jury Emerence is not one to pull any punches Magda absorbs the sting in the truth of her words You have an appalling nature, she began You puff yourself up like a bullfrog, and one day you ll explode The only thing you re good for is getting your friend in the helicopter to make trees dance by trickery You never grasp what is simple Emerence the fierce individualIn the end, all of what I have noted above can be tossed in the fire there is no doubt, Emerence is her own woman, one who defies categorization Whatdo you want I cook, I wash, I clean and tidy I brought Viola up for you I m not your dead mother, or your nursemaid, or your little chum Leave me in peace How could I write my review without a reference to the door, Emerence s door Right before Magda does receive entrance here is what Emerence has to say Now pay attention If you tell anyone, I ll put a curse on you Anyone I curse comes to a sticky end You re going to see something no one has ever seen, and no one ever will, until they bury me What does Magda get to see You will have to read this classic novel for yourself to find out Master Storyteller Magda Szab from Hungary, 1917 2007 She also demanded of me that, in my art, it should be real passion and not machinery that moved the branches That was a major gift, the greatest of her bequests Magda Szab , The Door L AMICA GENIALE Magda Szabo gioca con il lettore spargendo nella narrazione fragili elementi autobiografici il marito della protagonista uno scrittore proprio come era Tibor, il marito della Szabo Szabo e suo marito subirono l ostracismo e la messa al bando, a lei fu addirittura ritirato un premio appena consegnato, e dur per anni, dal 1949 al 1956 Poi ci fu la riabilitazione e il ritorno alla scrittura a tempo pieno E allora una domestica entr effettivamente in casa Szabo Szobotka.Helen Mirren nel ruolo di Emerenc nel film omonimo del 2012 del regista Ivan Szabo.Ma inutile, e controproducente, andare al di l di queste tenui analogie La porta non un romanzo autobiografico, non lo anche se la protagonista una scrittrice che si chiama Magda, e non neppure un romanzo realistico La porta parla di una scrittrice, che la voce narrante, che vive in Ungheria in un paese che per si capisce essere un quartiere della capitale, insieme a suo marito, a sua volta scrittore Le loro opere sono state vietate, ma un po prima che questa storia abbia inizio, sono state riammesse e riabilitate la scrittrice narratrice pu tornare a scrivere, quindi, non avr pi tempo per occuparsi dell economia domestica e avr bisogno di aiuto Le parlano bene di un anziana di nome Emerenc che cucina e pulisce per tutti gli abitanti della strada e del quartiere, si prende cura dei bambini, spazza la strada dalle foglie morte e d inverno dalla neve Emerenc conosce tutto di tutti, tiene salotto nel piccolo portico davanti a casa, la cui porta nessuno autorizzato a oltrepassare, dalla quale arrivano sinistri effluvi di detersivi.Il primo momento spiazzante all inizio quando apprendiamo che non sar la domestica a subire un esame, ma viceversa perch Emerenc non lava i panni sporchi al primo che capita quindi, solo se Magda e suo marito hanno buone referenze, Emerenc assumer l incarico.Non succede molto altro Magda e suo marito adottano un cucciolo salvandolo dalla neve ed Eminenc diventer la vera padrone e il riferimento affettivo del quattrozampe, con gran gelosia di chi racconta il marito di Magda si ammala ed Emerenc sa come curarlo si ammala anche Eminenc Szabo sa come regalarci dettagli e informazioni con parsimonia Emerenc e Magda interpretata dall attrice tedesca Martina Gedeck.Non succede molto, come dicevo, routine, banalit , la trama esile il tesoro dietro la porta, in quello che c , in quello che non c , in quello che rappresenta e significa Un tesoro che dilaga quando Emerenc si ammala, nell ultima parte del pagine a questo punto si intuisce che dietro la porta c uno scrigno davanti alla porta c effettivamente una vecchia enorme pesantissima cassaforte pieno di gemme prezioseogni legame sentimentale rappresenta una potenziale aggressione, da quante pi persone ci lasciamo avvicinare tanto pi numerosi sono i canali attraverso il pericolo pu colpirci Non fu facile ammettere che Emerenc contava sempre pi , la sua esistenza era diventata una componente essenziale della mia vita all inizio mi spaventava l idea che un giorno avrei potuto perderla se le fossi sopravvissuta nella schiera delle mie ombre ci sarebbe stato un ulteriore fantasma, insaziabile, tormentoso, che mi avrebbe seguita ovunque e gettata nella disperazione.Szabo ci fa credere che tutto si svolga in un paesino la strada dove tutti si conoscono, personaggi ricalcati su sterotipi del paese ma anche come se fossero usciti da una parabola il poliziotto buono, il fornaio , solidariet umana e anche tanta sfacciata curiosit privacy bandita e sempre impicciarsi degli affari altrui Invece siamo nella capitale, a Pest per la precisione Emerenc e il cane Viola.La scrittura della Szabo sembra fatta di nulla, semplice e senza pretese ma precisa, sapiente, costruisce magnifiche cattedrali e splendidi castelli con cerchietti e stanghette, con gli stecchini o i fiammiferi come i detenuti Lentamente sprigiona il quadro, piano piano le gemme cominciano a rilucere, prima nascoste, si pu solo intravederle, poi velate, per arrivare al finale dove occorre coprirsi gli occhi, tanto forte il chiarore.Una scrittura cos sapiente che sa trasformare personaggi intollerabili in creature indimenticabili Emerenc burbera e sgradevole al limite della brutalit , di quelle che si vanterebbero di non avere peli sulla lingua la scrittrice lamentosa e pusillanime Perfino il cane un ben strano quattrozampe che di canino ha poco, sembra ricalcato su qualche modello umano il quattrozampe funge da messaggero tra il mondo del razionale e quello la cui comprensione non alla diretta portata degli esseri umani.Magda Szabo.Tutto converge a fare di Emerenc un personaggio mitologico In grado di compiere miracoli a cominciare da come sequestra l affetto di Viola, il cane Sin dalla sua prima apparizione, col gigantesco mestolo davanti al calderone nel quale lava i panni, avvolta in un aureola di luce Ha l energia di una valchiria nonostante sia anziana Accoglie i randagi, cani e gatti, come sembra che facesse il cristo con i bambini e i mendicanti circondata da tre presenze femminili che sembrano le Parche Moire Sutu, Polett, Ad lka Il romanzo si apre e chiude con un sogno, che un incubo, che esprime l impotenza di fronte alla morte dell amica e il senso di colpa che la narratrice non riesce a controllare, e superare.Viola cerca di aprire La Porta.La porta il confine della propria intimit , l ingresso all a, all intimit , alla reciproca conoscenza Ora vedr qualcosa che nessuno ha mai visto, n mai vedr finch non sar sotto terra Io oggi le ho fatto pi male di quanto meritasse, le offro l unica cosa che ho, l unica cosa che ai suoi occhi abbia un valore Prima o poi l avrebbe vista, perch in fondo questa roba sua, ma almeno cos la vede mentre sono ancora viva Entri Non abbia paura.La porta si apre sul mistero della comunicazione umana, sull umana lotta per superare la distanza tra anime, quella valle che separa uno dall altro La porta conduce al mistero dell a.Magda ed Emerenc si sono riconosciute, nel profondo hanno capito di essere composte dalla stessa materia, parlano la stessa lingua anche se sembrano non capirsi, hanno frequenti scontri, il silenzio spesso la loro forma di comunicazione.Emerenc seduta sotto il portico davanti a casa.Per Ali Smith Emerenc una raffigurazione dell Ungheria.Personalmente, invece, trovo particolarmente affascinante quest altro percorso di lettura siamo alla presenza di un io narrante che una scrittrice, la quale scrive e racconta di un altra donna, un amica speciale la storia della loro relazione che riempie le pagine Possiamo fidarci al cento per cento di questa narratrice Ci racconta di un altra donna, impenetrabile, in qualche modo inafferrabile, una donna con segreti, ma con talento speciale che per sembra voler auto limitare l altra donna, l amica, che impone le regole della comunicazione, che decide aperture chiusure momenti di confidenza e momenti di privacy.Queste due donne sono davvero divise o sono le due parti della stessa persona Chi delle due quella brillante Lila e Len sono due met dello stesso io, come potrebbero esserlo Magda ed Emerenc Poi, certo, davanti alla porta succede davvero poco, mentre le vicende di Lila e Len sono un iradidio Ma l eco, io la sento, e mi piace sentirla, mi aiuta a comprendere Emerenc e La Porta.PSIl film del regista Ivan Szabo Mephisto , che credo sia solo omonimo, non parente della scrittrice, una trasposizione sciapa, didascalica, messa in scena con maldestrezza, visivamente a livello di una fiction Mediaset Neppure la splendida Helen Mirren nella parte di Emerenc riesce a risollevare il tono di un film nato male tra i tanti misfatti attori che recitano in inglese con difficolt cos palesi da dover ricorrere a doppiatori inglesi flashback in stile horror.Magda Szabo. The main character of this story, the woman whose front door provides the title, is called Emerence Every time her name was mentioned, I automatically put a g in it and read it as Emergence which turned out to be quite fitting because the aspect of the writing that struck me most was the pacing the way the story emerged little by little Author Magda Szab keeps a tight control over the narrative, allowing details to take on clarity very gradually as when a piece of photographic paper lying in a chemical bath slowly reveals the image that has been projected onto it Using such an old fashioned simile is fitting too because most of this story is set long before digital photography The present day of the narrative is communist Hungary in the nineteen sixties to eighties, but the backstory takes place much earlier, between WWI and WWII However, viewed from the vantage point of the narrator also called Magda, and also a writer , who is firmly ensconced in themodern and less oppressive half of the twentieth century, the backstory initially is only a vague shadow And in spite of briefly revealing the end of the story at the beginning, Magda narrates from the position of the reader as regards how the story will play out, i.e., she acts as if she were completely in the dark quite a neat trick given she resembles the author so closely So, while we know that she knows everything, we are lulled into thinking she knows nothing which is convenient because otherwise it would be difficult to accept how awkwardly she behaves at crucial moments in the story as she bungles things again and again, trying our patience quite a bit But it is such moments that allow the character of Emerence to be further developed, and so Magda s foolishness serves the author s purpose perfectly Magda s bungling is another way in which she mirrors the reader Like her, we are inclined to underestimate Emerence during the course of the story But our underestimation gets a serious jolt when the full picture emerges at last Because, yes, this story is one of very gradual Emergence until finally it speeds up and races towards a situation of major major Emergency The narrator and the reader follow along as well as we are able.A very allegorical story which throws new light onto the history of Hungary in the 20th century, for this reader at least. I still don t know how she fitted so much living into one life.Hope and despair go hand in hand whenever I try to form a rather fragmentary sketch of a far off Hungarian landscape It is one place which has become an essential part of my past as well as prospective literary sojourns and whenever I decide to visit there, to meet another storyteller and to hear onehypnotic tale, there s always a throbbing anticipation to receive a treasured souvenir made out of unfamiliar lives but exceptional words And this time, when I found myself standing in front of Emerence s door, without knocking patiently waiting on her front porch while listening to her dearest companion, Magda Szab , I was lucky to witness the masterful weaving of my parting presentI didn t like my own secrets I liked other people s even less.There was something about Emerence From the outset, her enigmatic persona heightened the curiosity in me and the conjectures which followed were all kinds of strange to silly I was baffled, moved, scared and eventually relieved My idea of hell was getting replaced by asinister one and my idea of paradise was becomingdazzling The bewitching narration was doing the whole trick, which was a cross between a guileless confession and a virtuous revelation Our narrator, a writer by profession had to have a constant exposure to fiction, as a result of which she allowed herself carefully monitored doses of reality. But soon enough she needed help A domestic help in the worldly sense but something which carried a lotthan the stipulated dealHow irrational, how unpredictable is the attraction between people, how fatal its current.How fatal indeed When people become too familiar with one s surroundings and abide by an invisible but existent code of conduct, then something comes forth to shake the status quo Emerence, a headstrong, self reliant lady had little but rigid demands from the world around her A giverthan a taker, she always knew what really matters Of all this, the door of her home and whatever it concealed was part of her prized possessions To unlock that wooden door, it was necessary to find the key to Emerence s heart first It was as simple and as complicated as that A synonym for Vulnerability can easily be depicted as that one person and for Emerence, that person was her employer, our narrator Among engaging discourses and occasional dialogues, a relationship of a lifetime flourished between two people which followed itself to the heavenly realms of death With the charm of a legend, the credibility of everyday life and the sanctity of a heartfelt writing, this book made me see another glorious aspect of Hungarian world I ll soon visit there again. Un Rapporto Molto Conflittuale, Fatto Di Continue Rotture E Difficili Riconciliazioni, A Legare La Narratrice A Emerenc Szered S, La Donna Che La Aiuta Nelle Faccende Domestiche La Padrona Di Casa, Una Scrittrice Inadatta Ad Affrontare I Problemi Della Vita Quotidiana, Fatica A Capire Il Rigido Moralismo Di Emerenc, Ne Subisce Le Spesso Indecifrabili Decisioni, Non Sa Cosa Pensare Dell Alone Di Mistero Che Ne Circonda L Esistenza E Soprattutto La Casa, Con Quella Porta Che Nessuno Pu Varcare In Un Crescendo Di Rivelazioni Scopre Che Le Scelte Spesso Bizzarre E Crudeli, Ma Sempre Assolutamente Coerenti Dell Anziana Donna, Affondano In Un Destino Segnato Dagli Avvenimenti Pi Drammatici Del Novecento Pubblicato In Ungheria Nel , Ma In Qualche Modo Disperso Negli Anni Della Transizione Politica, La Porta Il Romanzo Che Ha Rivelato La Pi Grande Scrittrice Ungherese Contemporanea In modern postwar Hungary, an old woman who is now a famous author recalls a nightmare herself as a young woman The novel begins after she has passed through a politically frozen time and started to be able to write again and to be publicly lauded for it She and her husband move up a step on the social ladder They hire an old woman, Emerence, as a servant Or is it the other way round I don t wash just anyone s dirty linen, Emerence says, coming to see their flat in her ceremonial headscarf and taking her time deciding whether they will suit her before she takes over the household, turns up for work whenever she feels like it, and bonds with the dog in a way no one else can Emerence is primitive, demanding, and without religion in a way that makes her somehow full of God s wrath There is something superhuman about the way she can work She feeds all the neighborhood sick, sweeps all doorsteps nothing human and in need is alien to this woman who has hidden refugees across the board from Fascist to Communist. Emerence had her ideas about everything Even doctors were not to be trusted and God only understood her take on trust, religion and all things human The church vehemently disagreed, but that was their problem She only relied on the security that she had created for herself and the animals she so passionately protected against the cruelty of life and humans She had a belief in animal purity They can t inform on us, or tell lies about us , while never questioning her way of beating animals into near senseless submission Nobody, except herself and her foundlings were allowed behind the locked door of her apartment Come icy cold winters, or scorching hot summers, everyone was received on the veranda The windows were securely closed up to any prying eyes No human being ever tried to disrespect her wishes Emerence was a ferocious defender of herself and what was right according to her She could be dangerous, as some neighbors realized soon enough after meeting her Until she met the author and the latter s husband, Emerence never allowed anyone into her personal space or circle of trust In fact, there was no circle of trusted friends She had a whole community who loved her, but that was different Only animals and herself understood her way of love and devotion to them It would ultimately lead to a tragedy and regret No person is an island, although life forced Emerence to create her own hide away since she was a young girl of nine years old As long as the neighbors and her employers allowed her to function within her own secure borders, she acted normalAnd as long as the author and her husband allowed Emerence to treat them like children, the author was able to learnabout this reclusive, yet hardworking caretaker of the mansions across the street The autobiographical tidbits Emerence told the young author were impossible, folk ballads in prose It kept the author mesmerized and devoted to her new housekeeper for many years.Emerence was immensely strong and tragically weak She was trustworthy but untouchable giving but refused to receive tough but loving challenging but devoted to the people she lived with She thought she could trust the famous author Alas The narrator the author Once, just once in my life, not in the cerebral anemia of sleep but in reality, a door did stand before me That door opened It was opened by someone who defended her solitude and impotent misery so fiercely that she would have kept that door shut though a flaming roof crackled over her head.I alone had the power to make her open that lock In turning the key she puttrust in me than she ever did in God, and in that fateful moment I believed I was godlike all wise, judicious, benevolent and rational We were both wrong she who put her faith in me, and I who thought too well of myself. The prize, I reflected bitterly, had already begun to work its influence I had rushed off in a TV car towards its radiance, away from illness, old age, loneliness and incapacity. Away from Emerence who was unable to tell the author that she loved her, or needed her The only way she knew how to do that, was to lash out in cruel profanities and verbal abuse The author misunderstood her words, just like the Lieutenant Colonel did not speak the same language as Emerence when it came to expressing their feelings and emotions Author So he Lieutenant Colonel didn t grasp my meaning either or perhaps he couldn t We were dealing in such different currencies Emerence s dictionary featured filth, scene, scandal, laughing stock of the street and shame His contained law, order, solutions, solidarity, effective measures Both phrasebooks were accurate, it was just that they were in different languages. In the introduction to the book the translator says unless we read other languages, we miss out on superlative novels like The Doorby Magda Szab This American edition comes nearly thirty years after its original publication, and very little by Szab , one of Hungary s most eminent novelists, is available in English But The Dooris so full blooded and stately a book that it clearly belongs with a shelf of equally fully made creations by the now elderly Szab , every one of which the reader will want to find after finishing this compelling, funny, and horrifying novel, translated by Len Rix in a rich and calm tone.I first watched the movie, available on Youtube, in which Helen Mirren portrays Emerence brilliantly, before reading the book The cast of characters are British, the production team Hungarian, and the ambiance of the 1960 s era as well as the cultural environment were masterfully done The language is English It brought this book alive on a totally different level and for once I believe that the film saved the book in a way Absolutely masterfully done, but of course adapted and I wanted to know the real story, so I got the book A wise decision, I believe.One of the most profound events in the book, when Emerence explained her fear of lightning to the author , was so much better experienced in the text Gripping and heartbreaking And all of a sudden, we see Emerence as the traumatized nine year old little girl hiding inside the bravado and toughness of the ageing housekeeper And suddenly we wanted to hold the old curmudgeon, hug her, love her, protect her from her own tragic pain.https www.youtube.com watch v cinptI suspect that some of the magic of the prose got lost in translation, which is corrected in the movie as far as ambiance and atmosphere is concerned Yet, I found the book a fascinating read as well, and wanted to relive the life of Emerence through the prose again It was well worth the read and a thought provoking experience about the different emotional languages we all use to express the memories we dared not talk about We have different ways of building those protecting walls around ourselves and when a community have to deal with a crisis, we suddenly have difficulty in understanding each other s words while talking the same language The book is written in the first person as a memory A welcome linear tale, presented in an intimate conversational tone with the reader The author communicated her thoughts and regrets directly with the reader, which makes it a great experience I was wondering if this was based on a true story or pure fiction It was told th t well Biographical novel I accidentally encountered the movie and the book, but what a magnificent start to a new year of reading it was Recommended for sure An absolute gem. Johannes Brahms can make autumn leaves dance in one of nature s most graceful circle The chill in the air was about to birth the season s very first snowflake The clatter of rusty shovels being removed equated to the asinine banters of old women gossiping on the porch After the death of its final leaf, the trees lay barren like a country that had abruptly lost its people There were no birds to be seen, yet I heard them chirp a summer song The fervent barking of a mongrel was followed by a pair of impenetrable irises blue as the deepest ocean The frost on my eyes made it tricky to see the peculiar lady carrying a christening bowl with glistening chicken soup I rubbed my eyes to wipe the frost and something terribly stung me It was morning, again The sunlight on my pillow showed beads of sweat on my arms and the frost along with the barking dog and the lady magically vanished While poor Brahms still played his Lullaby at my bedside, Emerence saw that I still stayed in bed It s been couple days now that I sleep with Emerence s mirror like face and wake up trying to experience the sound of her soprano voice When I open the pages of The Door , my heart beats faster than the breeze on my window and my lips are bitten while I take deep breathes, for Emerence brings out my emotional vulnerabilities letting my scars bleed through someone else s woundsSometimes the strongest women are the ones who love beyond all faults, cry behind closed doors and fight battles that nobody knows Anon.Indeed, the silent , big boned lady with an impenetrable face and having the persona of a Valkyrie Emerence was the strongest of the lot A mystery that deepened the moment the door was shut What kind of a flower was Emerence A rose or a white oleander that tenderly grew around the fence The now tranquil garden had once seen the dishonorable terror of red and white roses and the bloodbath that a few revolutionary chrysanthemums caused as they tore apart the fair camellias They were bruised petals scattered like feathers of a hunted dove each time when a flower revolted, irrespective to their colour At times it was better when the pristine flowers hanged themselves from the devilish vines because shootings never seem to work all the way And ,if you don t die straightaway, they have to come over and beat you to death or shoot you back , till all was left were trampled saplingsHow can I truly describe her, or trace the real anatomy of her compassion this woman who peopled her home with animals Emerence comes across as an eccentric, arrogant lady bearing an unfathomable obscurity When the writer hires Emerence as a caretaker, a series of love hate relationship flourishes between the two ladies The oddity of Emerence s demeanor created a haunting mesh of rumors of what really thrives behind the closed door of the villa With every tiny window that Emerence opened,it led a draft of fresh air into Emerence s concealed life whilst the writer gaining confidence of someday being the owner of the clandestine key But, was it this wretched key that the writer held firmly in her palm, be the very cause of her disloyalty to EmerenceI killed Emerence Szabo creates a marvelous personality through Emerence Like a mother who bestows her true love at the rarest moments in a child s life, Emerence spreads her loving arms her kindliness becomes the healing medicine for a hemorrhaged life Her eyes were so intense that they could win battles and a heart that was warmer than the sun on a spring morning Emerence was authoritative yet lovable she was irascible on the verge of being bi polar, yet she was comical and angelic when she smiled She had an innate goodness that shone through her being a dedicated soldier to her profession and when she saved a helpless life from a deathly ditch by giving it a home The porch of her villa became a dais for culinary entertainments Her loneliness was veiled among the silken folds of her compassion Her uprightness was stricter than the commands of a lion tamer and her honor came from her ambitious vibrant Taj Mahal She valued the idea of absolute love because it is only love that saves, even through betrayal and death The fragmentary chronicling of Emerence s life demarcates the historical events that led the foundation of a burgeoning country and its people I believe that when one comes across a commendable book, it becomes essential to cherish the prose with intellectual finesse and not mockery as it silently pays a tribute to the efforts and thoughts of the author This book certainly deserves the said gestureIt is just that, as well as love, you also have to know how to kill Lord kills too Szabo makes it decisively known to the reader, the mindset of war victims and people who were spectators to the bloodbath of a country s egotistical power battle and their probable abhorrence to religious validations These sentences in the book, makes you think the legitimacy of religious norms adhered to find a welcoming acknowledgement and defining the presence of God, even if it means to sacrifice the well being of human life, the very own premise that celebrates God s worship If it us humans, who ultimately authorize the matter life and death, choose to love and hate as per as our fallacious opinions and annihilate the very foundation of survival, then why do we use the pretext of the Lord to define our mortal egocentricities Szabo s prose is not only hypnotic but memorable, as her words follow you like a willful shadow never letting go even in the darkest nightYou can t give anyone a greater gift than to spare them suffering It was these among numerous other words that made me fall in love with Emerence It may sound harsh even horrifying maybe, but when a blood drenched body lies on the gates of death, breathes gasping for its finality an additional bullet or a stab may just bring a smile on the departed rather than the sorrow that engulfs a slow death When Emerence reminiscences her past while she stitches , I cry when she reprimands either Viola or the writer and shows a speck of her blooming affection I smile and when her eccentricities peak with obnoxious childish acts I laugh The Door is a powerful metaphoric representation of a woman and several others like Emerence who rather live a restrictive yet dignified life dwelling in the opaqueness of a wooden door than drowning in the nakedness of merciful alms Emerence wasthan a categorical flower she wasa truly great lady, pure as the stars .Szabo s writings make me reflect whether we who belong to the generation that frets on the mere number of likes acquired on a social website, ever tried to know people like Emerence who have seen a country grow, perish and once again grow Is it too late before an entire generation is wiped out and their stories are just mere sentences in newspaper archives When a country is in its most horrendous turmoil and when innocent lives are cut short, isn t it becomes necessary on the part of those alive to give a significant burial and carve memorable tombstones so that the perished do not have wasted lives Is it too much to ask to honor the dead Emerence makes me wonder about the degree of pain to be suffered that eventually dries up a human s tear ducts How many heart wrenching cries does it take to have a single serene bath There are several who have move past the atrocities of egotistical power hoarders and have a flourishing life, but what about those who have closed all doors and have lost the key of faith along the way With every inch that Emerence opens the door of her life, floodgates are opened within me, hurling me in a vortex of emotions It is here that I wish so dearly to be sitting with Viola, Emerence, Polette, Sutu and Adelka on the porch, and while Emerence poured tea in her prettiest china I have an earnest desire that I was the sole owner of the key that would open the door to all of their precious livesLike a truly great commander she settled everything around her in person, with a single impressive gestureHumankind has come a long way since its beginnings and people of the future won t be able to imagine the barbaric early days in which we fought with one another, in groups or individually, over littlethan a cup of cocoa But not even then will it be possible to soften the fate of a woman for whom no one has made a place in their life If we all lacked the courage to admit this to ourselves, she at least had done so. Ladies and GentlemenEmerence Szered s.Actor Helen Mirren essaying the role in the namesake movie. I found the atmosphere of this novel to be full of darkness and despair The friendship between two woman, one an up and coming author, the other an older woman revered on the street Emerence is a character I will not soon forget, a woman who has seen much, sheltered unbiasedly different people throughout the war, a hardworking woman of the utmost honor and pride The title has many different meanings in this book, the literal door and other doors, internal and psychological This book raised so many questions What does friendship mean How much of how a person sees themselves should be taken into consideration when the person needs help How much do you owe a person when you are the only one they let behind the barriers and the secrets they have constructed in order to keep their past and present private I have thought of this book on and off for the last few days, it is brilliantly written and packs a powerful punch I loved Viola the dog and how attuned he was to the wants and need of Emerence and she to him This is not a happy little story but it is a thought provoking one, a book that will not be easily forgotten.
B r ny Lamb in 1947, which was followed by
- 248 pages
- Az ajtó
- Magda Szabó
- 22 February 2018 Magda Szabó