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The Door  By  cover art

The Door

By: Magda Szabó,Len Rix - translator
Narrated by: Siân Thomas
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Publisher's Summary

Intense, brilliant and moving, The Door is a compelling story about the relationship between two women of opposing backgrounds and personalities: one, an intellectual and writer; the other, her housekeeper, a mysterious, elderly woman who sets her own rules and abjures religion, education, pretense and any kind of authority. Beneath this hardened exterior of Emerence lies a painful story that must be concealed. One of Hungary's best-known writers, Magda Szabo' here explores themes of love, loyalty, pride and privacy, and the barriers and secrets that govern them.

©1987 Magda Szabo´ Translation © 2005 Len Rix. (P)2016 Naxos AudioBooks

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What listeners say about The Door

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Challenging, but an engrossing, literary work.

A total immersion in a unique relationship between two women of a different age, class and experience.
Superbly nuanced absences are the real descriptors of what marks out this friendship or dependence. Negative behavior, competitiveness, jealousy and misunderstandings abound but essentially, both women help the other move through their lives.
Behind every successful woman is an excellent housekeeper.
And behind every human struggle, it is made beautifully clear, is dust.
The subtle shading in of the extraordinary disturbances that shook Hungary to the core are masterly.
A tour de force overall.

Siân Thomas is a "find." Great voice actor.

11 people found this helpful

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Excellent

A book about love, selfishness--perhaps even cruelty, and friendship. Gripping. So powerful I had to stop at times to regain my bearings. Excellent narrator.

6 people found this helpful

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A hauntingly powerful book

The Door will really work on you. It is finely crafted, beautifully observed, and very well read aloud. It's an intimate read. You enter the head of the narrator and see her human vulnerabilies, vanities, and failings and wonder about her reliability as a narrator. The narrator, a writer, offers a fascinating portrait of her housekeeper and that of their complex, brutally honest, contentious, and devoted-- if imperfect-- friendship. The book will get you thinking about what we value and how we choose to live; about the life of the mind vs. the world of practical doing; about what we really know about those we love; and about the inchoate and reverberating effects of losing those we love. The Door gives you a lot to mull. It will stay with you for some time.

1 person found this helpful

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RIGHT TO DIE

“The Door” is a story of the human psyche, and religious belief. Every human has a locked door in their consciousness, behind which life’s meaning is hidden. Often, neither individuals nor acquaintances have a key to that door. Magda Szabo creates characters searching for that key. To some listener/readers, her primary character has the key. Emerence Szeredas is Szabo’s primary character who, some may argue, has keys to other's doors, as well as her own.

“The Door” appears in Hungary in 1987 and has been translated into French and English. It raises many questions about life, faith, and individual rights. In this age of “right to die”, Szabo’s story has particular relevance.

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This book never loses momentum

I am stunned. This story of two women who loved each other through dreadful events and mundane life resonates powerfully with profound life lessons. A bad death can ruin a good life. A good life is the most difficult thing to build after suffering. Love is always possible but it can destroy a person in an instant. Politics is never restricted to the halls of Parliament. And on and on. The writing is superb, the narration is perfect, the story is gripping.

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  • ET
  • 07-29-21

Not my favorite

This just never got going. I hung in there waiting for the big salami. It never happened I don’t get the story and I finished it to the end.

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A Masterpiece

There are some books that go above and beyond. This is a story of friendship, a story of life and death, a story of things that mean something. It is a deep story untarnished by sentimentality. A perfect story.

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Tedious stalking

This was a long winded tale of a bored woman’s obsession with a not very interesting housekeeper. I found it very slow moving with zero payoff for my patience.

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quietly intriguing

I listened twice in a row to this very subtle story of everyday grace, love, and brutality. There are few books that I have experienced so intimately. Magda Szabo is brilliant.

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Loved this book

It has been a while since I have read such a wonderful book. Fabulous language fully develop characters and beautiful descriptions.

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  • Lucy Wheeler
  • 04-30-18

Sublime

Best narration of an audiobook I've ever heard. A heavy novel, but I adored every moment of it.

4 people found this helpful

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  • cat
  • 09-03-20

Excellent

Insightful and absorbing, a view into another persons world ...internal and external. Fabulous narration . Satisfying story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-18-22

Wow! What a journey!

This is the best narration I have ever listened to. The story is stunning, it’s like nothing I’ve ever read before!!!

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  • Graeme H
  • 09-22-19

A remarkable novel about a singular life

This is one of the great novels of the last 50 years. Described superficially, it is the story of a Hungarian writer and her housekeeper. But it is very deeply a story about what it truly means to love another person and the responsibility that attaches to this. Shot through with spiky humour and haunting images, it is a book to lose yourself in. Beautifully read by Siân Thomas.

1 person found this helpful

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  • finnea
  • 08-22-20

Sublime!

This is a magical, awe-inspiring book. Emerence is a wonderful character -- a bit like a Hungarian Olive Kitterage with more depth, passion and mystery. The central relationship is brilliantly written from the perspective of the writer, who seems to be an unreliable narrator to the extent that she lacks any real insight into Emerence. The fact that her dog is more clued in than she is a lovely touch. The writing is absolutely sublime in parts. There are some disturbing aspects to the story but it also warms the heart and is very funny in places. A really profound and transformative read.
The performance is brilliant -- one of the best audiobooks I've heard.