[Saturday Reads] #NYRBBookClub – A Story About Nazi-Occupied Hungary


Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.

Katalin Street [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Magda Szabo Translated by Len Rix Published by New York Review of Books (2017, first published in 1969) Original Title: Katalin utca Literary Awards: PEN Translation Prize for Len Rix (2018), Prix Cévennes du roman européen (2007) ISBN: 1681371529 (ISBN13: 9781681371528) Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

Last February, I co-hosted the #NYRBBookClub discussion over at Litsy with Scott (@vivastory), founder of the book club which has been running for the past two years. Scott shared a few weblinks on Katalin Street that clarified a few of my thoughts and helped me come up with the questions below that served as our discussion prompts:

Since this is our second Magda Szabo novel, we naturally had to do a compare and contrast with Iza’s Ballad (Amazon | Book Depository) which, by the way, I also recommended and co-hosted with Scott a few years back.

There is something about Szabo’s writing that just appeals to me – a rawness in the writing that is unafraid of being vulnerable. It reveals intimacies that always remain matter-of-fact despite them being unbearably tragic. The intricacies and complexities of family relationships in this novel are woven superbly with the vagaries of war and Nazi occupation – and how this can serve to alter a person’s character – or perhaps bring it to the surface even more.

If we continue with our #NYRBBookClub for another year, I would most likely recommend Abigail by Magda Szabo (Amazon | Book Depository) just to examine how her characters differ from each other, and the way her narratives unfold similarly or differently across each of her books.

If you are still unfamiliar with Magda Szabo, I urge you to read her novels soonest.

#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 34 out of target 100

April 9, 2022 at 06:31AM Myra Garces-Bacsal