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Old 11-13-2016, 09:29 AM   #1
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The Door by Magda Szabó, NYRB Classics edition



This is the MR Literary Club selection for November 2016. It includes the translation by Len Rix and the introduction by Ali Smith. Whether you've already read it or would like to, feel free to start or join in the conversation at any time, and guests are always welcome! So, what are your thoughts on it?
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Old 11-13-2016, 12:39 PM   #2
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I started reading this right now, based upon your post. ---- Thank you.

However, why did you wait 13 days into November to make this announcement with your post?

This really doesn't leave much time (or inclination or incentive, perhaps, for other members to offer comments), with the month now almost one-half over.

Still, thank you.....
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Old 11-13-2016, 01:04 PM   #3
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I started reading this right now, based upon your post. ---- Thank you.

However, why did you wait 13 days into November to make this announcement with your post?

This really doesn't leave much time (or inclination or incentive, perhaps, for other members to offer comments), with the month now almost one-half over.

Still, thank you.....
Welcome, Dr. Drib. I hope you enjoy the book selection. The literary club is on a different schedule than the other club. We only just finished voting on this month's book in this thread.
https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=279936

We also open up discussion as soon as the book is selected so that people can comment while they are reading. I prefer this approach to the other club as I think it fosters more discussion. Our discussion also tends to carry over into future months.
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Old 11-13-2016, 01:17 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bookworm_Girl View Post
Welcome, Dr. Drib. I hope you enjoy the book selection. The literary club is on a different schedule than the other club. We only just finished voting on this month's book in this thread.
https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=279936

We also open up discussion as soon as the book is selected so that people can comment while they are reading. I prefer this approach to the other club as I think it fosters more discussion. Our discussion also tends to carry over into future months.

Got it! -- Thanks for the explanation.

I'm only about 15 pages into it, having started it today, and I'm very much enjoying the writing.
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Old 11-13-2016, 11:19 PM   #5
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I've only just started reading it, but I like the writing style so far. The Len Rix translation of The Door won the 2006 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize, an annual literary prize for any book-length translation into English from any other living European language.

This link is interesting. Below is a quote from a judge of the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize about how works are evaluated.
http://muse.jhu.edu/article/238210/pdf

Quote:
The written guidelines give some help. Judges are to consider 'the quality of the translation, the importance of the original work and the value of its being put into English'. The criteria triangulate and qualify each other. What counts is not only the imaginative force of the work as brought into English, but what one might call the translation event – the feeling that this book should matter particularly to us, in the UK, now. The quality of the translation is perhaps the paramount criterion – after all, the prize money goes to the translator – but this should be judged primarily not by measuring translation against source (in any case impossible to do fairly across so many languages) but by gauging the strength of the English writing that has been done on behalf of the original, which is offered here by the translator as its representative.
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Old 11-16-2016, 06:08 PM   #6
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Welcome Dr. Drib!

I've begun and am enjoying it so far. I'm going to wait until the end to read the introduction. With any new read, I consider introductions and prefaces 'afterwards'.
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Old 11-16-2016, 08:03 PM   #7
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I am now getting into this book, and enjoying it too .
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Old 11-20-2016, 05:29 PM   #8
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I have just surfaced from a significant birthday party for my other half, interstate visitors etc ... to find that the two copies in my library are out on loan until JANUARY!!! I shall put myself down for whichever one comes back in first, but am assuming they are inter-library loans, as that's much longer than normal for a loan.

Anyway, I'll join in when I can. Sorry about that.
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Old 11-23-2016, 11:55 AM   #9
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I am in the same boat with you on The Door, Bookpossum.

However, I did recently get Bel Canto, so I can try to catch up to be no more than a month in arrears, although with December looming ...
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Old 11-24-2016, 06:42 PM   #10
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I have finished this now and found it an enjoyable read that I was pleased to have been pointed to.

My comments are only with respect to how the translation stood with me, I have no idea how well that reflects the pace of the original, any propaganda that may have been in the original, etc.

I found the narration very flat and dreamy and almost like a formal confession might be; it is, of course, wrapped up start and finish in a dream. Despite that I did not find it tedious at all, the narration I thought being very strong. It reminded me to some extent of Kafka's The Trial, not in the story line but in the flatness of the prose, though it could easily have been, had the narrator been a murderer, a confession before a trial.

This may be personal, but I found it had an undertone that represented to me that the book came from a socialist society. While the book was written in the comparatively free, compared to much of the rest of the communist block, Hungarian society between 1956 and the freeing up of their society in 1989 there were things about it that gave me that impression. The despairing flat dreamlike narration, the secretiveness among the characters, the compartmentalising of the characters by their duties and status (especially the many references to Emerence and her sweeping, mentions of real work being manual work, the powerful role of the Lieutenant Colonel, etc.). Whether this was part of the propaganda of the book, or came about simply because it is typical of such a restricted society I do not know.

Thanks for the lead to the book.
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Old 11-27-2016, 05:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookpossum View Post
I have just surfaced from a significant birthday party for my other half, interstate visitors etc ... to find that the two copies in my library are out on loan until JANUARY!!! I shall put myself down for whichever one comes back in first, but am assuming they are inter-library loans, as that's much longer than normal for a loan.

Anyway, I'll join in when I can. Sorry about that.
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I am in the same boat with you on The Door, Bookpossum.

However, I did recently get Bel Canto, so I can try to catch up to be no more than a month in arrears, although with December looming ...
No worries. My library has had good availability of books this year for the club. I can't believe I've spent less than $15 in total.

Thanks for your post, AnotherCat! It's an interesting read so far. I would like to read more books by this author. My library also has Iza's Ballad available, which is about the relationship between a mother and daughter.

I have passed over 50% now and more details of Emerence's life are becoming unmasked and starting to link together.
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Old 12-05-2016, 04:05 PM   #12
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Overall I enjoyed the book very much. Thanks Bookworm_Girl for suggesting this book. I haven't read
anything before by Magda Szabo (or by any other Hungarian writer). I think it is a very well
constructed and written book.

My sympathy was clearly with the person of Emerenc. Somehow she was the personification of the "fool/jester" who could do or say everything and criticise everyone without fearing any consequences. And she was the personification of the goodness, she intuitively knew what was good or right.

I had some (and only minor) problems with the person of the authoress. From time to time we have here at MobileRead discussions about first-person-stories and for me this book is another prove how difficult first-person-stories are to tell. It is really very difficult to criticise oneself convincingly! At least for my taste, the authoress acted too much like a drama queen in the time of the crisis. On the other hand, from a constructional point of view I think it was a very good idea to tell the story from one side with the other and main person as some kind of adversary.

So thanks again for suggesting this book.
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Old 12-19-2016, 11:10 PM   #13
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Just took delivery of my copy from the library. With pre- and post-Christmas events it may take me a little while to read it, but at least having a novella in December gives me a bit of time before we move on to the January selection.
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:17 AM   #14
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No worries, Bookpossum! I am so far behind on posting. I still want to add more comments to the Bel Canto discussion, and I have yet to start this month's novella. I haven't even put up the Christmas tree yet! If only someone could gift me more time under the tree!
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Old 12-20-2016, 04:34 PM   #15
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Maybe we should just agree to move Christmas to 25 January - that should give you a bit more time!
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