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"My dreams are recurrent visions, identical to a hair; I always dream exactly the same thing. I'm standing in our entryway at the bottom of the stairwell, on the inner side of the street door's iron-rimmed, wire-reinforced, unbreakable glass window, and I try to unlock the door. Outside on the street there's an ambulance; the silhouette of the medical corps shimmers through the glass as if their unnaturally large, swollen faces have halos, just like the moon. The key turns, but I struggle in vain; I can't open the door, although I'm the one who must let in the medical crew, otherwise it'll be too late for my patient."

"On the porch, I simply forgot how to walk; I froze to the floor in my dressy shoes. By that time I expected things to be bad, but nothing of the magnitude of what greeted me - because no fantasy could have conjured up what appeared before me. Emerence's door wasn't open, nor had it been left unshut - she had no door at all. With the lock secured as before, it was propped up against the boards of the washbasin alcove; they'd torn it off the hinge; its middle was missing; someone had hit it with a hard object and only the upper part was intact: these can be seen in Flemish paintings - the door divided in the middle with the top part folded down, a smiling woman leans on her elbows on the dividing bar, looking herself like a painting which - at one and the same time - has even been framed. I imagined Emerence's face as she peers out from under her kerchief; she evaluates the situation and realizes that I'm not even there; and in my place, there is the doctor who grabs her - the reconstruction was successful to this point, but no further; I was overcome by such a sense of weakness that I had to sit down on the little bench while I pulled myself together. I knew I couldn't avoid it; I had to go in; I had to step into that stench; I rested for a few minutes then I set out."
(from The Door)

"Szabó's style, laced with gentle humour, is as mesmerizing as are her characters. Her dexterous, self-ironising distance (the autobiographical elements are obvious), the detached gestures with which the narrator interrupts herself, the muttered fury that erupts in overlong or half-sentences, and a certain moral seriousness and ethical anguish also impregnate this gem of a novel. Ultimately, the text is a tranquil memento, a piece of irrefutable poetry, a bizarre counterpart to our universal betrayal - out of love."
(Clara Györgyey, World Literature Today, vol. 69)



[biography] - [quotes] - [publications]



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