Katalin Street

Category: Book
Translated By: Rix, Len
By (author): Szabo, Magda
Subject:  FICTION / Family Life
  FICTION / General
  FICTION / Historical
  FICTION / War & Military
Publisher: New York Review Books
Published: September 2017
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 216
Size: 8.00in x 5.00in
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*From the author of The Door, selected as one of the New York Times "10 Best Books of 2015," this is a heartwrenching tale about a group of friends and lovers torn apart by the German occupation of Budapest during World War II.

In prewar Budapest three families live side by side on gracious Katalin Street, their lives closely intertwined. A game is played by the four children in which Bálint, the promising son of the major, invariably chooses Irén Elekes, the headmaster's dutiful elder daughter, over her younger sister, the scatterbrained Blanka, and little Henriette Held, the daughter of the Jewish dentist.

Their lives are torn apart in 1944 by the German occupation, which only the Elekes family survives intact. The postwar regime relocates them to a cramped Soviet-style apartment and they struggle to come to terms with social and political change, personal loss, and unstated feelings of guilt over the deportation of the Held parents and the death of little Henriette, who had been left in their protection. But the girl survives in a miasmal afterlife, and reappears at key moments as a mute witness to the inescapable power of past events.

As in The Door and Iza's Ballad, Magda Szabó conducts a clear-eyed investigation into the ways in which we inflict suffering on those we love. Katalin Street, which won the 2007 Prix Cévennes for Best European novel, is a poignant, somber, at times harrowing novel, but beautifully conceived and truly unforgettable.
Biographical NoteMagda Szabó (1917–2007) is considered one of Hungary's greatest novelists. Her novels, dramas, essays, and poetry have been published in forty-two countries, and in 2003 she was awarded the Prix Femina Étranger for The Door. The NYRB Classics edition of The Door was selected as one of the New York Times's 10 Best Books of 2015. NYRB Classics also publishes her novel Iza's Ballad.

Len Rix is a poet, critic, and former literature professor who has translated five books by Antal Szerb, including the novel Journey by Moonlight (NYRB Classics) and the travel memoir The Third Tower. In 2006, he was awarded the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize for his translation of Magda Szabó's The Door.