Monday, January 11, 2010

Hungary seems to have a lot to offer.

Some time ago, my boyfriend received a rather interesting and beneficial offer to join a book club. Upon joining, you could choose a number of books, and one of the books I chose was "The Door" by Magda Szabó. First of all, it cost almost nothing (so I could choose more books), and secondly, it was written by a Hungarian author. Now I am very happy I chose that book, and that I actually got around to reading it since I usually just put the books I buy in my little library, and then they sit there for years and years. Magda Szabó is probably one of my new favorite authors, and I really look forward to reading more of her books, and to finally perhaps read one of them in Hungarian.

This book is really not particularly long, but it's written in a very dense manner, and it took me much more time to read than I had expected. I read the book in Norwegian, but I still had trouble following sometimes. Szabó's sentences are not like most authors' sentences, something that made reading this book a different reading experience. In the beginning, I was a bit annoyed sometimes, but then I think I just got used to it and started to appreciate her intricate manner of writing instead.

The story is rather special. I never read the text on the cover before reading a book, so I had no idea what this one was about. In short, it's the story of a female author who hires a housekeeper to keep track of her house so that she can focus on writing. The housekeeper, Emerenc, is also the care keeper of the neighborhood, and thanks to her, everything is in order. She's an old woman who never sleeps, but only works and works and works and who never lets anyone into her apartment. She does not accept praise or gifts, she chooses her own pay and doesn't work for just anyone. She decides her own working hours, and may come in the middle of the night to do her tidying. Soon the housekeeper is the one who is in charge of the house and the relationship between her and the narrator turns into something rather complicated. It's a very fascinating story. I can't help but appreciate the simple stories that are somehow made awesome by the author. This is not a flamboyant love drama or a detective story that can draw anyone in, there are no heroes or anything of that kind, just pure good writing. You never even find out the name or the appearance of the main character, the author and narrator, not even her age, and you really don't need to...