This is a beautifully written novel that explores the complex relationship between two women: Magda, a writer, and Emerence, her housekeeper.
The most striking aspect of the novel is the character of Emerence, whom I struggled to connect with.
On the other hand, I was invested in the thoughts and emotions of Magda. Her inner reflections on her relationship with Emerence were captivating.
I loved the second half of the book as it explored the themes of shame and guilt felt by the two characters. The way Szabó crafts their relationships is masterful.
Overall, even though I didn’t find the story particularly interesting, as it didn’t trigger in me strong emotions, and I didn’t relate to the protagonists, I found myself looking forward to continuing to read the story. It was not without effort that I had to put the book down before the next reading session.
So, it’s the way Szabó wrote that makes this book so special and makes me want to read more of her work.
Title: The Door
Author: Magda Szabó
Year first published: 1987
Content warnings: Animal cruelty, Toxic friendship
Emerence is a domestic servant – strong, fierce, eccentric, and with a reputation for being a first-rate housekeeper.
When Magda, a young Hungarian writer, takes her on she never imagines how important this woman will become to her.
It takes twenty years for a complex trust between them to be slowly, carefully built.
But Emerence has secrets and vulnerabilities beneath her indomitable exterior which will test Magda’s friendship and change the complexion of both their lives irreversibly.