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Abigail
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About the Author

Magda Szabó (1917–2007) is considered one of Hungary's greatest novelists. Her prose, dramas, essays, and poetry have been published in forty-two countries and in 2003 she was awarded the Prix Femina Étranger for The Door. The NYRB Classics edition of The Door was selected as one of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2015. NYRB Classics also publishes her novels Iza’s Ballad and Katalin Street.

Len Rix is a poet, critic, and former literature professor. In 2006, he was awarded the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize for his translation of Magda Szabó’s The Door.

Reviews

"The English edition of Abigail is as welcome as it is overdue. Len Rix’s translation is deft, but Szabó’s frank, conversational prose takes a back seat to her sinuous plotting: The novel unspools its secrets over many pages, and the resulting tour de force is taut with suspense. . . . Nothing could ruin a book so humane—but to resolve the novel’s central mysteries, especially the enigma of Abigail’s identity, would be to diminish some of its breathless urgency. To learn the truth, you must consult Abigail herself." —Becca Rothfeld, The New York Times Book Review

“A tense, intimate narrative that brilliantly depicts youthful innocence ensnared by lethal menace . . . Szabó the magician reveals, for an instant, time, history and human folly, all glimpsed through a child’s clear eyes.” —Anna Mundow, The Wall Street Journal

“[I]n Len Rix's superb translation, Abigail is a delightful page-turner. There's an air of enchantment about the school—the book takes its title from a statue that supposedly grants the students' wishes—and Gina begins to have adventures—some quite funny, others that bring tears to your eyes.” —John Powers, NPR’s Fresh Air

“This infectious coming-of-age novel from Szabó, released in 1970 and translated into English for the first time, is a rollicking delight. Gina Vitay, the headstrong, spoiled lead, is reminiscent of Jane Austen’s Emma. . . . Szabó pairs the psychological insights reader will recognize from her novel The Door with action more akin to Harry Potter. Gina is one of Szabó‘s finest creations.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Sequestered at a boarding school during World War II, a rebellious teenager confronts secrets, lies, and danger. . . . Urgent moral questions underlie a captivating mystery." —Kirkus 

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