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Katalin Street (1969)

por Magda Szabó

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
3381576,604 (4.19)45
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 Ba?lint, the promising son of the Major, invariably chooses Ire?n 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.--… (mais)
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Inglês (12)  Espanhol (1)  Húngaro (1)  Alemão (1)  Todas as línguas (15)
Mostrando 1-5 de 15 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Originally published in Hungarian in 1969 by Magda Szabó, Katalin Street moved me deeply. On the surface, it is about three close-knit families living on a street in pre-war Budapest and flashes events in the lives of the characters that stick with them after death. The musings about death and memory in the first two pages were so well written and affecting that I had to reread them immediately. Credit for the fluidity of language that allowed me to fall deeply into the pages goes to translator Len Rix. This was the case throughout this short novel. Sentences would come out and knock me off balance, make me gasp aloud, not out of surprise, there is an undercurrent of the inevitable fate of the characters, but out of a profound sense that I was being given access to some deep truth. The characters are well written, though I would not say that is what drives this book (nor is the plot). Perspective changes and time jumps leave you scrambling as you clutch onto the sentences trying to figure out where you are and what is happening. By the end, I felt as though I had lived through many years, cast aside innocence, suffered tragic loss, been in an unhappy marriage, grown old, and become a ghost. The book continues to haunt me more than two weeks since I finished it, I expect it will for quite a time to come. ( )
  Afriendlyhorse | Jan 24, 2024 |
Hard to read at this particular time of 'The Rona.' It was all a bit too true. The altered state of being wrought by stress, war, horror felt too real, too depressing. Nothing glamorous in it. Just unhappiness.
  BookyMaven | Dec 6, 2023 |
In everyone’s life there is only one person whose name can be cried out in the moment of death.

This is my first experience of Magda Szabo, a Hungarian writer, whose work is making its way into English translation, one book at a time. This was not the book I requested, but it was the one the library gave me, so I decided to just dig in and I’m pleased I did.

Szabo follows four major characters: Balint, Iren, Blanka and Henriette, four childhood friends caught in the upheaval and dangers that beset Hungary from the beginning of World War II until 1969. As we watch the changes of war and the subsequent restructuring of life in Budapest, we also watch the disintegration of the lives of the four friends.

“It’s so sad. You never could grasp the simplest facts,” he said. “Life. Death. Clean water. Life isn’t a schoolroom, Iren. There aren’t any rules.”

No rules. Nothing about their lives is as it was before, and the contrast between life as it should have been and life as it has become is unbearable. What each of them has to cling to is the relationship they shared with one another, and that thread is very thin and stretched.

The story is not written in a linear timeline, so it took a bit to adjust to the time movements; there is a dead character who persists beyond the grave and interacts with the living characters. Both of these devices might indicate trouble for me, but Szabo makes them work perfectly and the “ghost” character adds a level of understanding that would be quite impossible without her.

It was the first time in my life that I had an inkling that the dead are not dead but continue living in this world, in one form or another, indestructibly.

Perhaps Szabo is trying to tell us that when your world is destroyed, the dead become more alive to you than the living. Perhaps she wants us to see that trauma, once inflicted, never disappears entirely. Perhaps she wishes us to examine what constitutes family, the fragility of love, and the nature of betrayal. Or, perhaps she is just putting a mirror up to life and inviting us to see how little of it is really within our control.

I'm unsure how to feel about the ending. It seemed abrupt, but then what else could be said? Still, it kept this from being the full 5-stars for me. 4.5, rounded down. ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Read the novel straight through then reread PLACES again. It’s all makin’ sense. ( )
  Gumbywan | Jun 24, 2022 |
"...{I}n the end, they understood that of everything that had made up their lives thus far only one or two places and a handful of moments, really mattered."

This is the story of three families who for a time lived in adjacent houses on Katalin Street in pre-war Budapest. The story travels around in time , from the pre-war idyllic childhoods of characters, to the horrors of the war, to the present day when the tragedies of the past continue to haunt the lives of the survivors, some geographically scattered, but still inextricably connected. There are shifting points of view, and in the beginning, as these memorable characters are being introduced, I found it a bit confusing and hard to get into. In the end, I loved this book, and it is one I found unforgettable.

First line: "the process of growing old bears little resemblance to the way it is presented, either in novels or in the works of medical science."

Last line: "Bring Blanka home." ( )
  arubabookwoman | Jun 2, 2022 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 15 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
"A visceral, sweeping depiction of life in the shuddering wake of wartime." Starred Review
adicionada por SaraElizabeth11 | editarKirkus Reivews
 

» Adicionar outros autores (11 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Magda Szabóautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Haldimann, EvaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kovacs, ElisabethTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Rix, LenTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Smith, Agnes FarkasTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Thies, VeraTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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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 Ba?lint, the promising son of the Major, invariably chooses Ire?n 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.--

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