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Улица „Каталин“

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,022 ratings  ·  153 reviews
Тиха улица в Буда, където едно до друго живеят три приятелски семейства: овдовелият майор Биро със сина си Балинт и икономката госпожа Темеш, зъболекарят Хелд със съпругата и с дъщеря си Хенриет и учителят Елекеш със съпругата си и двете си дъщери – Ирен и Бланка. Съдбите на трите семейства се преплитат през 1934 г., но само десет години по-късно всичко ще се промени за вс ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 14th 2018 by Колибри (first published 1969)
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4.07  · 
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 ·  1,022 ratings  ·  153 reviews

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Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nyrb, fiction, hungary, 2017
In everyone’s life there is only one person whose name can be cried out in the moment of death.

Katalin Street is a strange little book. It’s easy at first to succumb to sentiments of “This is not as good as The Door” (or Iza’s Ballad, for that matter, which I happened to love even more). Admittedly, the first 30-40 pages were a bit confusing, as many reviewers said, and I wasn’t immediately captivated as I anticipated I might be; but the middle portion, oh, with Blanka’s exile and Henriette’s de
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third of the late Hungarian writer Magda Szabó's novels to be published in a translation by Len Rix. The first two were both brilliantly memorable - The Door was published in the UK in 2005 but took a lot longer to reach America, and Iza's Ballad followed in 2015. This time round NYRB got there first a couple of years ago, and this new Maclehose press edition has only just caught up. NYRB also have a fourth (Abigail) in the pipeline, so she is at last gaining the English speaking aud ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most beautiful books I have ever read.

I really loved the previous novels of Magda Szabó that have been translated into English: The Door and Iza's Ballad. But this third, Katalin Street, failed to move me. I read it in ideal circumstances (on a plane), but found it clunky, idea-worn, and not memorable.
Lisa Lieberman
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blighted lives. Szabó mercilessly explores the inner trauma inflicted by decades of war and dictatorship on Hungary's middle class. These are people who survived hardship. Or did they? Memories of the dead seem more vivid than the day-to-day reality of those still alive. Willful blindness, corrosive guilt, childlike helplessness, lying to oneself. The cowards carry on, whimpering; the strong are cut off from feeling. Over time, a clearer view of the past emerges. It is not consoling.
We would be
This book is confusing at first but the beautiful writing draws you in regardless, and ultimately turns into a moving, and very sad, tale of lives lived and lost in war torn Europe.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this novel disorientating at first. I wasn't sure where we were, who was narrating, who was whom... And of course, this was exactly the effect Magda Szabó was striving to create. Unreality, disorientation - these are at the heart of the troubled times the novelist describes and the interweaving lives of the characters she draws. Taking in the Second World War, the brutal rule of the Arrow Cross, the coming of the Communists and the 1956 Uprising against their rule, the narrative moves th ...more
Feb 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, 2012
Flashes of brilliance, but didn't come close to the polish of The Door. I had no idea what was going on for the first few chapters. My favorite parts were similar themes as other works, like how sometimes your greatest crimes are just thoughts, or the many different forms of how love can be expressed in a relationship. The depiction of nostalgia here is achingly familiar for anyone that has ever yearned for a time or place without being able to state what made it feel so right or natural.

Nahid Rachlin
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very interesting and well-written.
Jackie Law
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“the dead are not dead but continue living in this world, in one form or another”

In March 1944 German forces invaded Hungary to enforce the extermination of Jews. A year later the Soviets ‘liberated’ the country, imposing full Stalinist control from 1949. An uprising in October 1956 was quashed by Soviet intervention.

Set in Budapest between 1934 and 1968, these portentous events form the backdrop to a story of three families whose close connections are cemented during the time they live as neigh
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translation, wit, fiction
"It's so sad. You never could grasp the simplest facts," he said. "Life. Death. Clean water. Life isn't a schoolroom, Irén. There aren't any rules."

Katalin Street by Magda Szabó, translated from the Hungarian by Len Rix, is a poignant story of life in Budapest during wartime that explores how people, often unintentionally or for no clear reason, inflict suffering on those that they love.

This book was my introduction to the work of Hungarian author Magda Szabó, who is probably best known for he
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trauma
Though grueling and relentless, this novel is utterly gripping, like Szabó's other work. Unlike Iza's Ballad and The Door, this novels deals directly with the Second World War, and the impact of the Soviet regime. Katalin Street is the home of three middle-class families, who, before the war, live in comfortable houses and embrace a stable and prosperous life. Told in short snapshots covering the years 1934 - 64, Szabó shows us how radically their lives change, and how the surviving people from ...more
Terry Pearce
For me, this book could have been a classic. The main thrust of the story is simple and sad and beautiful. But the way she messes with timeframes and ghosts around the edges of it detracts and confuses. I'm not saying the ghosts and time-jumping couldn't have been made to add to the basic story, but the way they've been done doesn't. I was actually about to give up about 10-15% of the way in because I had no idea what was going on or who half the people were. I'm really glad I didn't, because on ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started strong for me but faded about halfway through.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii, family, depressing
This almost became a DNF for me. It was quite confusing for the first 40 pages or so, but thanks to some reviews, I continued on. I enjoyed this story and would definitely read more by this author. The story centers around three families living on Katalin Street and how attached they are to each other and to their street. The focus is on the four kids, three girls and the boy they seem to gravitate to. WWII is the backset to this story and when only one of the families survive along with the boy ...more
It was a little hard to follow at first and the beginning (which was really the end) made more sense by the finish of the novel. The book uses a series of timelines and narrations, one being a ghost, to tell the impact on a small group of neighbours in Budapest from the late 1930s to 1960s.
The author choses to use words sparingly and makes the reader work a bit. The tale of death and loss, broken dreams and means of coping make this a sad but worthwhile read.
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Katilin Street in Budapest is where three respectable middle class families live in neighbouring large houses : the Elekes's and their daughters Irén and Blanka; Major Bíró, with his housekeeper Mrs Temes and his son Bálint; and the Helds and their daughter Henriette. The story criss crosses through time, and perspective, and explores the claustrophobic world of the three girls and their families, beset by problems of invasion occupation and conquest: pre-World War Two; the German Occupation and ...more
World Literature Today
"Szabó, who died in 2007, was a Hungarian author whose work examined the intersections of fascism, betrayal, family, and love, among other topics. Her prose is a powerful reminder of just how resonant the relationship between language and memory can be, especially when entangled within the matrices of families and communities living under the shadow of fascism." - Andrew Martino

This book was reviewed in the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of World Literature Today magazine. Read the full review by visiting o
When I heard that the English translation of Szabo's 1968 Hungarian novel was to be translated in English I couldn't wait for a chance to read it. Having read The Door, which I fell in love with, I was looking forward to blasts of brilliance. Katalin Street had the promise but the style and structure fell short for me.The list of characters introduced in the beginning was confusing as one couldn't figure out the relationship between them. A ghost like creature was interjected as well but I could ...more
Jun 29, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I got fairly far into this book after renewing it multiple times at the library but I felt I was forcing myself to sit down and read it. The days in between became to many and lost interest. I loved the first chapter and was excited to be starting a new book with promise. I, and it fizzled out.
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This melancholy novel is set in Budapest from the 1930s to the 1960s, a particularly turbulent period in Hungary's history. This novel, though, is not political. Rather, it's an intimate, though oddly detached (perhaps because of the translation?) account of three neighboring families. The climactic events do take place, first, during WWII, when all of the members of one family and one other character are killed, and then during the uprising in 1956, when we repeatedly hear of gunshots in the di ...more
Novels about survivors of WWII usually offer some measure of hope. Not to be trite about WWII novels, but the characters, though wounded, typically emerge from occupation (or imprisonment, loss, terror) deeply altered but with a fresh purpose, lessons learned, or wisdom to impart. Anyone familiar with Magda Szabó should know better than to expect something this tidy from Katalin Street, her novel about three families who live side by side on the titular utca and whose lives are torn apart by WWI ...more
Rose Gowen
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good, but not as good as The Door, which was extraordinary.
Fariba Arjmand
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
actually, I read Len Rix's translation, but apparently only this translation appears on Goodreads.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What do we who live in the West know about Hungary, its people and how it experienced life under Communism and under the shadow of Hitler and of the USSR?

If I am any example, I would say: “not much.”

Credit must be given to publishing companies that strive to provide English speaking readers with good translations of fine literature that provide bridges to our understand of other people, places and times. Such is the case with Magda Szabo’s “Katalin Street,” written in 1969, translated into Engli
Laura Hoffman Brauman
3.5 stars. Katalin Street looks at the intertwined lives of three families on a Budapest Street leading up to, during, and after WWII. The central events of the novel occur during the war, when the adults in one family are taken to concentration camps and the teenage daughter, Henriette, (hiding with one of the families) is killed, but much of the of novel focuses on the aftermath of war and loss. Henriette makes appearances throughout the novel as an observer from the afterlife -- she has recon ...more
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moving back and forth across more than three decades, it tells the powerful story of Hungarian middle-class families before and after The Second World War. The writing is brilliant, recalling in unsentimental prose, events viewed from a position of nostalgia by those unable to free themselves of their past. The opening section of the book is rather slow, but worth sticking with – the middle section of the book quite extraordinary, beautifully written.

“In everyone’s life there is only one person
Tara deCamp
Beautiful and powerful. I think I read it too quickly to fully appreciate it, so I'm going to take a breather and go back in for a reread.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely mesmerizing.
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s hard to review this book! I found it rather opaque and dense, but not without the mesmerizing quality I came to associate with Szabo’s writing.
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Magda Szabó was a Hungarian writer, arguably Hungary's foremost female novelist. She also wrote dramas, essays, studies, memories and poetry.

Born in Debrecen, Szabó graduated at the University of Debrecen as a teacher of Latin and of Hungarian. She started working as a teacher in a Calvinist all-girl school in Debrecen and Hódmezővásárhely. Between 1945 and 1949 she was working in the Ministry of
“Винаги, и като дете, ме е изненадвало колко погрешно ме разбираха и двамата. Усърдието, амбицията, съзнанието за дълг и самодисциплината, които бяха характерни за всяка моя стъпка, за тях двамата означаваха само едно: че с мен са успели и аз съм съвършена; единствената, която можеха като свой резултат да покажат на света и на себе си след мъчителните им сцени. Ето, това е Ирен, в която са се събрали най-добрите качества и на двамата: толкова прилежна и прецизна като баща си, толкова обещаващо привлекателна като майка си, без непохватността на единия и ненадеждността на другия. Всеки мой успех възприемаха, сякаш с него съм искала да ги зарадвам, и че всяка моя похвална постъпка е предназначена за тях, че заради тях се опитвам да улесня нелекия живот. Понякога, докато седяхме край масата за вечеря – Бланка най-често с подпухнало от плач лице, защото баща ми успяваше да стигне до дневната ѝ порция възпитание едва привечер, майка ми в леко зацапана, една идея по-фриволна домашна дреха, отколкото подобаваше на съпругата на директор преподавател, татко в изчеткан костюм, стрелкащ всички иззад чинията си като от катедрата, - се унасях: на тях никога ли не им минава през ума,че аз самата бих искала да стигна далече, без значение дали те се радват, или не? Ако поради някаква заплетена от психологическа гледна точка причина им хрумнеше абсурдната идея, че бих могла да ги ощастливя и без да уча или ако съм лекомислена, аз пак бих се старала по същия начин като сега, защото се готвя за зрелостта и самостоятелността като за отделни поприща, просто един ден бих искала да живея по свой вкус.” 1 likes
“She had no idea what life was, or death.” 0 likes
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