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Iza's Ballad
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
From the author of The Door, selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2015 An NYRB Classics Original Like Magda Szabs internationally acclaimed novel The Door, Izas Ballad is a striking story of the relationship between two women, in this case a mother and a daughter. Ettie, the mother, is old and from an older world than the rapidly modernizing Communist Hungary of the years after World War II. From a poor family and without formal education, Ettie has devoted her life to the cause of her husband, Vince, a courageous magistrate who had been blacklisted for political reasons before the war. Iza, their daughter, is as brave and conscientious as her father: Active in the resistance against the Nazis, she is now a doctor and a force for progress. Iza lives and works in Budapest, and when Vince dies, she is quick to bring Ettie to the city to make sure her mother is close and can be cared for. She means to do everything right, and Ettie is eager to do everything to the satisfaction of the daughter she is so proud of. But good intentions aside, mother and daughter come from two different worlds and have different ideas of what it means to lead a good life. Though they struggle to accomodate each other, increasingly they misunderstand and hurt each other, and the distance between them widens into an abyss. . . .
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review
tricours
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
Mehso-so

I really love Magda Szabo, but unfortunately not this book. It just felt like it never really got started.

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BarbaraBB
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Day 3 of #12booksof2020

Many of my most enjoyable reads this year I read thanks to @vivastory ‘s #NYRBBookClub. The tagged book was my favorite choice this year. I love Szabó‘s style and her deep insight in human nature.

charl08 I have one of hers out from the library, must pick it up. (Too many books!) 1y
Andrew65 Good choice. 1y
Liz_M This was also my favorite #nyrbbookclub book! 1y
See All 6 Comments
Suet624 This and Cassandra. 1y
BarbaraBB @Liz_M @Suet624 This year Iza, last year Cassandra indeed! 1y
vivastory I'm looking forward to kicking off a New Year with our new group. I also agree with the above. This one this year & Cassandra last year. 1y
62 likes2 stack adds6 comments
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TheBookstorePodcast
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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#wondrouswednesday @Eggs
? No, I live in a very small city in MI, but I‘m somewhat close to Detroit and the first book set there that I can think of is them by Joyce Carol Oates.
?I just finished Iza‘s Ballad so that would be Hungary!
? Might be a cliché answer but the March family.

Thanks for the ?!

Eggs Not a cliche at all! Thanks for playing 👏🏻📚⭐️👌🏼 1y
17 likes1 comment
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GatheringBooks
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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My last #OutsideReading was during my birthday week in March at Ras Al Khaimah before all the craziness went down. Grateful to have at least spent that glorious week with family in an airbnb overlooking the Persian Gulf. It was glorious. Lots of #outsidereading definitely.

OriginalCyn620 Gorgeous photo! 2y
Velvetfur Love that photo so much! Are you not in Emirates anymore then? 😊 2y
GatheringBooks @Velvetfur oh we are still very much in the uae, but we live in quaint provincial al ain, around 2 hours away or so away from ras al khaimah and around 90 minutes away from both dubai and abu dhabi. 🥰😍😘 2y
GatheringBooks @OriginalCyn620 thank youuu! 😍🥰📚🧚🏼‍♀️ 2y
Velvetfur @GatheringBooks Ah ok, sorry I got confused! I'm glad you're still out there and safe and well xxx 2y
66 likes5 comments
review
Billypar
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

#nyrbbookclub
Way late on this, but like everyone else I really liked it.
Szabo's characters feel like real people in this somber story of family members who fail to give each other what they really need. I haven't read a character with a 'tragic flaw' in awhile - not something you see much in contemporary novels. This novel really made me reflect on generational changes - how much at home we all are in our own customs without realizing it.

Billypar I enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts in the discussion, and great questions @GatheringBooks and @vivastory ! And thanks @Leftcoastzen for giving me the idea to download the e-book: this was my first one ever: I liked the format more than I expected. 2y
Leftcoastzen Great review ! This novel really touched me .I still prefer paper books , but e-books work when you need it . In fact , this months selection will be e-book for me. 2y
Billypar @Leftcoastzen Thanks! Yeah, I'm always going to be a print fan first, but reading on my cell phone did make it easier to find my place when I lost it. 2y
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Suet624 I enjoyed this book a great deal. Felt like something you could really sink your teeth into and relate to. 2y
Billypar @Suet624 Absolutely- it took observations that everyone is familiar with (i.e. generational divides on values, customs, new technology & innovation, etc) and explored them in such a deep way- it really drew me in. 2y
vivastory I agree about the portrayal of the generational divide. Szabo did an excellent job interweaving the generational & the cultural gaps. 2y
Billypar @vivastory Yeah - I think most portrayals of elderly characters don't delve into the loss that comes with each new thing supplanting something else that was familiar and a link to the past. Szabo was brilliant at showing that dynamic. 2y
vivastory It has a lot to say about how to treat people, how individuals view their own self worth. I found that to be helpful personally (I'm a health coordinator for a non-profit) but I appreciated that it wasn't overly sentimental or poorly handled. 2y
Billypar @vivastory Oh definitely - lots of practical wisdom to learn from it. I was worried it would feel too sentimental, but it wasn't at all. 2y
41 likes9 comments
review
Liz_M
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

It begins with the perspective of “the old woman“ and each subsequent section adds another point of view, spiraling outwards and deepening the portrayal of family dynamics. Minor characters are imbued with life in a few pages and their understanding of Ettie is a perfect contrast to Iza. The complete, genuine inability of Iza and Ettie to understand each other is brilliantly told and makes the read utterly compelling and rather uncomfortable.

LeahBergen What a great review! And now I‘m regretting missing last month‘s pick. 😐 2y
vivastory Fantastic review, Liz! I can't wait to read the other Szabo books on my shelves. 2y
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vivastory @LeahBergen It's still worth reading. I'll probably reread it in a few months. I can tag you when I do. 2y
Liz_M @LeahBergen Definitely keep it on your TBR and wait for the time to be right for reading it! (edited) 2y
Liz_M @vivastory Thanks 😊 (edited) 2y
BarbaraBB Great review Liz. Your favorite #NYRBBookClub choice so far? 2y
BarbaraBB @LeahBergen You must read It. It‘s so good. Even in these times you‘ll love it 💕 2y
batsy Insightful review. I felt that element of discomfort, too. Szabó's eye seems both compassionate and ruthless. 2y
Liz_M @BarbaraBB Yes, I think so. Cassandra & Expendable are close seconds, though. 👍 2y
LeahBergen @vivastory @Liz_M @BarbaraBB I‘ll definitely read it! And the three others by her I have on my shelves. 😆 2y
LeahBergen @BarbaraBB I think The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne is my favourite NYRB so far. ❤️ 2y
vivastory @BarbaraBB Those have been my favorite NYRB selections as well 2y
26 likes14 comments
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mklong
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

Sorry #NYRBBookClub friends, I was pressed into service late last week sewing cloth masks, so wasn‘t able to finish this one in time for our discussion.

What a lovely and heartbreaking novel. As readers we see depth of feeling, both love and resentment, that the characters withhold from each other. As such, it feels that we know them better than these close friends and family members can ever know each other.

BarbaraBB Great review. I loved it too. 2y
vivastory Wonderful review & no worries at all about missing the discussion. The uncertainty is overwhelming, to say the least. I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe. 2y
mklong @BarbaraBB @vivastory Thank you!! I‘m getting closer to normal reading levels, so I should be good for this month 2y
45 likes3 comments
review
emilyhaldi
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

This one really snuck up on me.. so quiet and unremarkable. Then bam, it's the last chapter and I'm straight up depressed! Iza's ballad is tragic because it's so common and real. Whew! Sorry I was late to the #NYRBbookclub party @GatheringBooks @vivastory and thank you for hosting!!!

Suelizbeth Have you read The Door by the same author? A wonderful book. 2y
vivastory Common & real, I agree 💯. I will be reading more Szabo, I think I have another on my shelves somewhere. Glad it ended up working for you! 2y
BarbaraBB Great review! I have another one by her too which I will read soon I think. 2y
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batsy Great description and I completely agree. I have The Door thanks to the lovely @readordierachel and that's the Szabó I'll be reading next at some point. 2y
Reviewsbylola Ugh I never got to it. Second month in a row. 😑 2y
BookishMe I wanted to read this after seeing the discussion but I don't need depressed for now ;o 2y
69 likes1 stack add6 comments
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BarbaraBB
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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#MarchStats #MarchWrapUp

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
Iza‘s Ballad
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The enchanted April
Miss Pettigrew lives for a day
The only plane in the sky
The Bridges
⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
Made for love
Leon & Juliette
Woman no 17
⭐️⭐️⭐️
The discomfort of evening
⭐️⭐️✨
Erewhon
⭐️⭐️
The Testaments
⭐️✨
The war of the worlds

DNF
The Iron Heel
The 7 or 8 deaths of Stella Fortuna

thebluestocking That‘s a pretty good month, all things considered! I still haven‘t made it through The Testaments. 💙 2y
BarbaraBB @thebluestocking I‘d say there‘s no need to make it through The Testaments. The book is an offense to readers 😄🤷🏻‍♀️ 2y
63 likes2 comments
review
batsy
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

When I first started I somehow thought it would be a hard read, but Szabó's writing (& George Szirtes' translation) is clear & beautiful, providing a much needed clarity of mind. It's an intriguing snapshot of mid 20th-century Hungary, & a moving, complex tale of a mother & daughter & the people who orbit their lives. I live with my elderly mother, & I could relate to so much of the generational conflict. It touched me deeply ❤️ #nyrbbookclub

batsy Thanks for hosting a great discussion @GatheringBooks @vivastory ! I'll use this is my Hungary entry for #readingeurope2020 :) @Librarybelle @BarbaraBB 2y
erzascarletbookgasm Lovely review and pretty pic! 👍 2y
Librarybelle This sounds so good! 2y
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Dilara It makes me happy everytime someone praises Szabó. She's one of my favourite authors 😁 2y
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm Thank you ❤️ 2y
batsy @Librarybelle I definitely recommend :) 2y
batsy @Dilara That's great! My first by her and I am v keen to read more. 2y
Moray_Reads I loved this one. Such a tender, spiky portrayal of a difficult relationship 2y
batsy @Moray_Reads Tender and spiky... Yes, that's a lovely way to put it! 2y
BarbaraBB What a beautiful review. I bet you‘re behaving differently towards your mother despite the generations difference! 2y
vivastory Yet another great review. I'm glad you liked it. It seemed to have really worked for the group. 2y
BiblioLitten Beautiful review and lovely pic💕 2y
batsy @BarbaraBB Thank you! And I certainly hope so. This book has prompted some self-reflection ❤️ 2y
batsy @vivastory Thank you. And yeah, a quiet, subtle book that seems to have left its mark. 2y
batsy @BiblioLitten Thank you ❤️ 2y
readordierachel Lovely review 💕 2y
batsy @readordierachel Thanks, Rachel ❤️ 2y
Suet624 I‘m so glad you liked it. I feel as though I am still floating about in that world. 2y
batsy @Suet624 I still think about Iza and Ettie and my heart! It's a lot ❤️ 2y
105 likes19 comments
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emilyhaldi
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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I have about 80 pages left before I can join in on yesterday‘s #NYRBbookclub discussion!! Thinking I may dive into that now instead of trying to get any work done...

Reviewsbylola Books before work 💪🏻 2y
66 likes1 comment
review
BarbaraBB
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

I loved this tragic book about family dynamics and the inability to reach one another. When Vince dies, Ettie (‘the old lady‘) moves in with their daughter Iza in Budapest, #Hungary. The relationships between mother and daughter and between all other characters in this book, are revealed in heartbreaking details and by the thoughts of all involved. Nothing outspoken. Which makes it even more touching.

#ReadingEurope2029 🇭🇺 #NYRBBookClub

Tanisha_A Love you review. Sounds something like I'd love to read. 2y
Velvetfur Great review, and I love that pretty photo 😊 2y
Librarybelle Stacking this one... 2y
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batsy I'm almost close to finishing but I keep getting distracted by the news! But I'm certain I agree with everything you said 🙂 2y
emilyhaldi Fully agree with this review 💙 I got through about 200 pages yesterday and am really enjoying the story now. 2y
vivastory Great review. I'm glad you enjoyed it! 👍 2y
Suet624 Great review and, yes, I agree wholeheartedly. 2y
88 likes7 stack adds7 comments
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GatheringBooks
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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#MagnificentMarch Day 30: Our #NYRBBookClub this March is #AboutADoctor and our discussions are going tremendously well, lots of insights and queries and thoughtful/incisive reflections. Thank you, @vivastory for organizing this. Paired with Egyptian food meat koshari (made of rice, macaroni, & lentils mixed together, topped with a spiced tomato sauce, garlic vinegar and garnished with chickpeas, & crispy fried onions - and meat for this)

vivastory That looks amazing! Thanks for co-hosting this month! 2y
OriginalCyn620 📚👍🏻📚 2y
batsy Thanks for hosting and the insightful questions! Sorry i was a little late to the party 🙂 2y
59 likes4 comments
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GatheringBooks
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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#NYRBBookClub Q5 of 5.

Liz_M This one I have trouble with, as there such a monumental societal difference between the two generations, it is hard to differentiate the cultural from the generational.... So, I guess it's mostly generational. Ettie's adherence to tradition, inability to adapt to the modern appliances, etc., are highlighted more than the fact that she didn't like music as much as Iza. 2y
vivastory @Liz_M Well said! The book really goes full circle from Ettie toasting her bread in the fire to Iza in a hotel room with a neon sign right outside. I think the two are intertwined. 2y
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vivastory Cultural and generational* 2y
GatheringBooks i think both have been depicted quite powerfully and very subtly by szabo. Both locations - Budapest and Ettie‘s hometown - are so vividly portrayed that they seem like characters of their own. That sense of rootedness in one‘s past tied to place/geography and the giving back even that was facilitated by Iza. The generational difference is also stark as Ettie had no use for Iza‘s wealth that the latter has worked so hard to achieve - not just ⬇️ 2y
GatheringBooks for herself but also for her family, that sense of pride that she derived from finally achieving a sense of financial security after having gone through lack and deprivation and uncertainty in her childhood with her father‘s loss of job and dignity even - clearly szabo is a master at her craft @vivastory 2y
vivastory @GatheringBooks Yes, a very strong sense of place for both! Plus the perspective of Budapest from Ettie was great. 2y
Suet624 @GatheringBooks Oh gosh, yes. You're right about the locations being so present and palpable in this book. And I had forgotten about Ettie's money! I could relate to that so much, as all of my children have no need (at this time, anyway) for funds that I may be able to scrimp and save. I felt a real tug about that when reading about Ettie and her finances. 2y
Leftcoastzen Beautiful descriptions of both locations, you can feel the characters love of their hometowns.I can relate how one can see in ones minds eye , the elements of each location changing over the years.The places are as alive as the characters 2y
Leftcoastzen I think Ettie‘s generational differences are more marked as things changed so dramatically in that time frame.I also believe it is really a dramatic difference , Ette and Vince scrimped and saved out of need, Iza‘s modern lifestyle seems extravagant and wasteful.Ette still wanted “to be of some use”a phrase from a John Irving novel, can‘t remember which one. 2y
Aimeesue @Leftcoastzen Yes, the scrimping and saving out of need that became a part of their characters, so it continued far past the actual need to do so. My grandparents grew up during the Great Depression and that saving and Make Do and Mend mentality was unchanging til the end. It becomes a way of life. And then you pass it on to your grandchildren, which is why I have not needed to track down toilet paper or any other grocery item since 3/1. 😂 2y
Leftcoastzen @Aimeesue oh I hear that ! My grandparents reused and repurposed everything! I was raised in a house :don‘t leave the water running , don‘t leave the light on.I‘m grateful. I think my grandparents probably had a box full of string that was labeled “string to short to save”😂 2y
Aimeesue @Leftcoastzen My grandfather was an electrical engineer and would GO TO THE DUMP, collect vacuums that people had tossed, repair them and save them for anyone who needed one. The cellar was like a used applaince showroom. 😂😂😂 2y
BarbaraBB @vivastory That is such a good observation about the first and last scene. 2y
vivastory @BarbaraBB Thanks ☺️ I think there are probably other connections I missed...a very subtle book 2y
batsy I think both aspects were really conveyed effectively for all the reasons mentioned above. The part where Ettie thinks about her night table just filled with bills because Iza keeps leaving her money just killed me. Ettie doesn't realise how Iza shows her love, and both in their little bubbles while loving each other so much. So real and sad ❤️💔 2y
12 likes16 comments
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GatheringBooks
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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#NYRBBookClub Q4 of 5.

vivastory I'd say Vince's death is definitely the catalyst for the story. I feel like we didn't get as much of a sense of Vince to really be able to know if the characters were idealizing him. 2y
Liz_M I hadn't thought about the role Vince plays. I think maybe the author idealizes Vince. I did like the way that each narrator (Antal, Lidia) reminisce about him and his kindness -- between the story about Antal's books or Lidia learning about her childhood town, I think we are supposed to see Vince as fully-realized character. But he is presented as too good, so doesn't seem quite real. 2y
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GatheringBooks @Liz_M the “too-good” portrayal may be exactly what @vivastory meant about idealizing Vince - although he did feel alive to me, even his nurse‘s reminiscences (now antal‘s fiancee) depicted his strength and his melancholia too - and how his longing for his hometown was also dismissed by Iza as useless sentimentality. I also thought that wouldn‘t grief (brought about by loss) necessarily bring about an idealized sentiment for the deceased? (edited) 2y
vivastory @GatheringBooks I agree. I think it's inevitable that he has been idealized due to grief. He, like everyone, was sure to have shortcomings. But he was principled & charitable. I think that was one of the strengths of the book. Szabo seemed to excel at portraying characters who are admirable in certain areas of their lives & flawed in others. It gave the lyrical prose some weight. It was like Henry James, but not convoluted as hell. 2y
GatheringBooks @vivastory “principled and charitable” - that is the perfect description. in the beginning, ettie was harbouring suspicions about him with his decision to give the photo (or is it a painting) to his nurse, and ettie rummaging through his things trying to find clues; that kinda humanised him too, somewhat. 2y
Liz_M @GatheringBooks That reminds me -- I love how masterful Szabo is at dropping these narrative hints and then later showing the disconnect between the characters by depicting the other side. 2y
Suet624 @Liz_M Yes, I loved those hints as well. 2y
Suet624 “Principled and charitable“ - hey, I'll idealize anyone with those qualities! 😂 Whenever Vince was discussed I felt myself relax. He was a warm and gentle presence throughout. I'm just now realizing, though, that Ettie was charitable as well. I'm remembering descriptions of her past which showed her as being gregarious and helpful to others. Funny that from Iza's perspective we only see the burden of having her around. 2y
GatheringBooks @Suet624 yes. that sense of being “extraneous” like an unnecessary appendage to iza‘s life, a “burden” definitely - was exactly what made Ettie retreat so deeply into herself, there was just no coming out of it. so so so tragic. (edited) 2y
GatheringBooks @Liz_M it definitely has rendered all the characters in this narrative, even the very minor ones - so complex and nuanced. 2y
Leftcoastzen I‘m sure Vince is idealized somewhat through the grief of losing him. But also , I‘ve seen family dynamics shift dramatically IRL when someone who really held the family together passes away.Many children are happy for many reasons that both their parents are around to take care of each other & keep some normalcy going longer.I agree with @Suet624 I relax , happy memories take an edge off the current situation. 2y
Liz_M @GatheringBooks @Suet624 Again, Szabo is brilliant with the contrasts -- Iza takes care of all details and insists her mother do absolutely nothing and enjoy life and then there is Teresz. Once Teresz adjusted to Ettie's presence she realizes that Ettie needs a sense of purpose, needs to be useful, and asks her to do the shopping, even swallowing her criticism when Ettie does things differently than she would and causes her minor trouble. (edited) 2y
Suet624 @Liz_M Teresz, the unsung hero. 2y
Aimeesue @Suet624 Terèz GOT it. Definitely the unsung hero, at least until Ettie catches on and feels guilty about it. 2y
batsy @Suet624 I like that description of Vince. I felt myself relax when he was mentioned as well. Kind of like that person who always makes others feel like it will all be alright in the end. Pretty amazing that Szabo managed to convey that with her writing. And great insight @Leftcoastzen he was the engine that made the family tick, perhaps. And Iza and Ettie struggled on their own to find their rhythm. 2y
batsy @Liz_M Teresz is a great character; I wanted more of her! She gets how complex people are. And again I feel this highlights Szabo's deceptively simple writing ... she can imbue even a relatively minor character with a lot of depth. 2y
9 likes17 comments
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GatheringBooks
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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#NYRBBookClub Q3 of 5.

vivastory Partially... this felt like a tricky book. Szabo was fantastic at portraying each character's motivations, so I felt like I really understood. I have to say though that by the end, Iza is a bit in the dark 2y
Liz_M Antal's & Domokos' perception is the reader's perception. The other views of Iza align with this. WHat I am having trouble understanding is Domokos' change of mind. He so clearly didn't want a relationship with a “Lidia“-type, so I didn't quite catch how Iza's emotional distance was problematic for him. 2y
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GatheringBooks @vivastory @liz_m I found Antal‘s elaboration in the end very judgy, & a bit undeserved . More than anything, I actually ended up feeling really sorry for Iza. Yes, she was cold and distant, but she did everything out of pure/good intentions, while of course the delivery was off, and the way that it generally came across. But, was it her fault or is it these men‘s limitation for perhaps feeling threatened by her self-sufficiency & sense of agency? 2y
Liz_M @GatheringBooks I wouldn't say Iza is at “fault“, but I don't think the men are threatened by her sense of agency. They, like Ettie, don't want their self-sufficiency and agency taken from them. 2y
Suet624 Domokos leaving puzzled me and in that instance I felt badly for Iza. I was happy, though, for Antal. I wanted him to have a more loving presence around him. 2y
GatheringBooks @Liz_M this is very well-put. this gradual and subtle removal of agency taken away from the people iza loves. like some kind of emotional vampire of sorts. yet, i never felt that she deliberately set out to do this, right? 2y
GatheringBooks @Suet624 from the onset, I felt that there was something off about Domokos. Like he was just a spectator in Iza‘s life, and when Iza finally showed vulnerability - or was it her icy strength - it frightened him off. Too real and messy for him, maybe? 2y
Suet624 @GatheringBooks Yes, I think you're right. 2y
Leftcoastzen I agree with @GatheringBooks and others in this conversation.relationships are tricky . I feel Antal wanted Iza to be more emotional, less independent and Domokos takes a step back when life with Iza and “the old lady” gets more complicated. 2y
Liz_M @Leftcoastzen @GatheringBooks I think one can make emotional connections and be independent. But I agree with GB's phrase about Iza being a vampire (not emotional, but an organizational? vampire). I don't think Antal wanted Iza to be dependent. But, he had a life-long dream of modernizing his spa town and Iza, with the best intentions, usurped that dream -- took over all the planning all the details; it became her achievement, not his dream. (edited) 2y
Leftcoastzen @Liz_M I get it ,emotional connections yet remaining independent is how I roll. In relationships other people‘s expectations are often an issue.And I think all people, more or less , look for relationship where the parter makes up for or is better at, some element in their life. 2y
Aimeesue @Liz_M Organizational vampire! Yes! I have a friend like this, actually. People like this are *awesome* at getting thing done, but it often feels like they run roughshod over others to accomplish things. They get kind of FOCUSED and don't see the emotional fallout. And exactly right about the spa; Iza meant well, but ended up completely taking over. More being oblivious to the fallout. (edited) 2y
batsy @Suet624 I felt the same about Domokos and @GatheringBooks you put into words my discomfort—it did feel like he was just passing through Iza's life. Even Iza seemed like she had to convince herself to be invested in him. 2y
batsy I liked Antal, just like I did Iza, even if both frustrated me. I was weepy at the end when he thinks to himself, "I loved you so much, in a way I never can & do not even want to love ever again." It did seem like Antal & Iza are two people who simply cannot make it work because of fundamental differences of how each one expects the other to be. But that kind of love Antal talks about—maybe he knew it would be self-destructive in the end. 2y
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GatheringBooks
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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#NYRBBookClub Q2 of 5.

Liz_M I wish I had been paying more attention to the rare occasions where Ettie was referred to by name -- I wonder if it coincided with her taking an action. For so much of the novel, she goes along with what others want, only desiring to to help others unobtrusively. She erases herself, helped by the author's use of “the old woman“. 2y
Liz_M I think Iza's use of “darling“ is a term of affection, but one that is distancing -- not as intimate and emotionally charged as calling her momma, mom, mommy, etc. 2y
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vivastory I noticed this early on in the book & it felt very deliberate. It felt like Szabo was emphasizing how much of Ettie's self-identity was intertwined with what she could do for others & their perception of her. Once her husband had passed away & she moved she was just seen as "the old lady" not as someone who still has hopes for the future 2y
vivastory @Liz_M It would be interesting to go back and see what was going on when she was being called by her name. This is a book I definitely plan on rereading, I'll have to write that down when I do 2y
BarbaraBB I noticed this immediately and it made the book very distanced (if that is a word). Etty is just an old lady indeed, even her daughter doesn‘t say Mom.. it adds to the sadness of the book and Etty‘s character. 2y
GatheringBooks @Liz_M @vivastory Yes, “the old woman” while perhaps used affectionately like “darling” which to all intents and purposes is an endearment - yet they seem to trivialize her character somehow, almost infantilizing her, but also dismissive and condescending - like she isn‘t a person - or an individual in her own right anymore. Scott, do let us know about those instances if you do a re-read; definitely worth taking a close reading of it. 2y
GatheringBooks @BarbaraBB do you think it would have much of a difference in their relationship as mother and daughter if Iza called her “Mother?” This really made me think how the dynamics would have changed in terms of power, interaction, sense of agency. 2y
BarbaraBB I‘m not sure, another sounds formal too but at least Iza would acknowledge to be the daughter. Now she seems to patronize Etty, don‘t you think? 2y
Suet624 I was shocked when I first read Ettie's name. I was disappointed in myself that I never wondered what the heck her name was! :) The idea that she was self-sacrificing and thus needed no name saddens me. I'm not sure what the history is of the word “darling“ during this time period. Personally it feels patronizing - like calling an older person “sweetie“. My oldest daughter has never called me Mom. She grew up living in a commune and (cont) 2y
Suet624 everyone called me Sue, so that's what she called me, even today. We know who Mom is and if she ever called me “darling“ it would mean that I had become senile or something. :) (Don't know if what I'm saying makes sense, but...). Also, isn't that the way? In general it seems that when people get older there is less focus on who they actually are and thus folks feel less of a need to get to know their name. (Geesh, grim, I know!)
(edited) 2y
Leftcoastzen I thought it is kind of typical, the old woman is someone you have deal with , especially since she‘s no longer useful in her previous roles ,I felt Iza used darling like some of us an endearment to avoid saying something bad . Example Honey, did you mean to put my favorite t-shirt in the bag going to Goodwill? 2y
GatheringBooks @Suet624 it makes perfect sense. And the “Welcome, visitor” when they arrived in Iza‘s place in Budapest. It was like Ettie was a temporary artifact that had to be put somewhere, and the expectation was for her to adjust to Iza‘s world. Ettie‘s initial hopes and her sketch about what the home would be like is heartbreaking- and she never found a way to convey this at all to Iza, maybe for fear of being laughed at and rejected yet again. 2y
GatheringBooks @Leftcoastzen lol about the Goodwill. 😭🤣😭 but that‘s an interesting way of seeing it, like softening the fact that she doesn‘t need a mother basically - like Ettie is this darling new ornament to be placed in her fancy, modern home. 2y
Suet624 @GatheringBooks Oh gosh, yes, Ettie's vision of her future home was heartbreaking. That really got to me. 2y
Leftcoastzen I felt this story so deeply.Iza is emotionally detached because of her profession, I think she really believes she is being generous & has arrived at the best solution for her mother knowing it will be irritating for Iza herself.Iza just doesn‘t empathize with the generational differences.How this modern place is anything but comforting to mom.Hence why seniors cling to their current home,even when it becomes detrimental to their health. (edited) 2y
GatheringBooks @Leftcoastzen I also felt deeply for both Iza and Ettie. Iza‘s lack of empathy is a trait that she may have needed to develop as @Suet624 has pointed out to allow her to survive in her field and to be tenacious in her aspirations, which cost her this shred of connectedness with other people. she may have taken it for granted that her loved ones would understand her and would eventually see things the way she does, perhaps? 2y
Aimeesue I agree with @Suet624. "Darling" is used when Iza's either overruling something Ettie wants to do or explaining why Ettie must do what Iza thinks is best. Hugely patronizing. 2y
batsy Yes I agree with @vivastory and @BarbaraBB about how it intentionally depicts Etties's erasure, or the kind of invisible role she plays—typical of how society views older people, especially elderly women who were primarily homemakers. I thought Iza's "darling" was both patronising and infantilising, the role that adult children take on when they try to impose their will on their aging parents because they assume they always know better. 2y
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GatheringBooks
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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#NYRBBookClub Q1 of 5.

Liz_M Pilatus (with the provided explanation) seems to emphasize the actions while Iza's Ballad points to the, not exactly motivation, but the character flaw. I like the latter better (mostly because I wouldn't have understood the references in the former). 2y
vivastory I think the name change was smart. Although Pilate can be seen as a sort of bystander who gave the crowd what they wanted and washed his hands of the blood, the religious overtones don't work as well as calling it a ballad which I've always imagined (right or wrong) as similar to the blues. That feels very true to the spirit of the book. I definitely prefer the NYRB cover. 2y
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GatheringBooks @Liz_M actually that is one of the things i wanted to explore with you all - do you think of it as a character flaw? or is it a form of strength somehow? 2y
GatheringBooks @vivastory ballad strikes me a bit more as a kind of lovesong - a lamentation more than a dirge - but sad definitely, not upbeat like the way i envision blues. musical genres aside, agreed about the NYRB cover - which i suspect most of us would be partial to. 2y
vivastory @GatheringBooks I think that Iza's definitely flawed, but expectations are a bit too much for her. Some of the things she does when it seems that she's not being considerate of others, I think that it's habit from having to assert herself. 2y
Liz_M @GatheringBooks Whether it is a flaw or strength depends so much on a person's worldview and ideals about happiness. Iza may be happier being alone in which case it may be a strength, but her decisiveness and authority only take into account what is best for her -- she doesn't consider (or even seem to be aware that it is necessary to consider) that other people may have different wants. So, in the case of those around her, it is a flaw. 2y
vivastory @Liz_M When Iza was talking about not wanting to tell her mother when she'd be home, as an introvert I had to laugh. 2y
GatheringBooks @Liz_M very well said. Iza definitely values her solitude- but her plaintive cry in the end signals her utter sense of alone-ness. Do you think that if the people who love her made her realize this self-absorption & how much she is hurting them without her realizing it - would things have changed? Would she acknowledge that she is in the wrong? Would she be horrified that she is unwittingly causing pain? @vivastory (edited) 2y
Liz_M @vivastory 😁 I definitely felt for Iza's difficulties in having her mom live with her -- I have trouble spending two weeks at my Mum's house on vacation. We've finally come to a compromise -- she leaves me alone to read in the morning, but by lunchtime I have to be social. 😂 😂 😂 2y
Liz_M @GatheringBooks Oooh, excellent question! I can see it both ways -- if Ettie or Domokos tried to point out her flaws, she might just close up even further. But if Vince or maybe even Antal (instead of leaving) found a way to talk to her it might have made all the difference. 2y
vivastory @GatheringBooks I don't think she'd be able to without a drastic change on some level. Her profession is so draining on many levels, that it's almost impossible for her to be a compassionate physician & have a social and romantic life, plus make time for her mother. One of those areas would have to change dramatically. 2y
GatheringBooks @vivastory this is the exact reason why i felt that Antal judged her too harshly - with such finality and such judgment in the end, that I ended up loathing him, despite me understanding where he was coming from initially - and me ending up sympathizing with Iza being left utterly bereft and horribly misunderstood. 2y
vivastory I definitely felt quite a bit of sympathy for Iza at the end. Anyone who has tried to take care of an elderly parent while balancing the rest of their life knows how challenging it is. 2y
Leftcoastzen I actually prefer the New title , the other one is loaded with an amount of judgement . 2y
vivastory @Leftcoastzen The original has religious overtones that just don't seem to convey the book very well 2y
GatheringBooks @Leftcoastzen agreed, it casts a harsh light on iza‘s character immediately. Altho, isn‘t Antal washing his hands off Iza by just divorcing her for no clear discernible reason that Iza - or anyone in the story - for that matter, really understood? Makes me think now of other Pilates in the story - definitely the bystanders of Ettie‘s death were doing this as well. 2y
Suet624 @vivastory Yes, I agree with you that the religious reference doesn't jive with the novel. I understand that Iza was overwhelmed by having her mother around, but to have so little compassion or awareness of how her mother felt bothered me. These people really needed to learn how to talk with each other! 2y
GatheringBooks @Suet624 yes yes yes! it‘s like all these missed connections and perfect, well-meaning intentions that have never really aligned with each other. i am thinking now whether they would really be able to make any kind of changes within themselves if they had communicated more effectively - or are they simply doomed to hurt each other bec of some deeply-embedded character trait that is absolutely certain of their own righteousness. 2y
Suet624 @GatheringBooks Well poor Ettie has just lost her husband and her home of many years so I forgive her her stubbornness and righteousness. Iza, who has carried the torch of her father's suffering and humiliation, may indeed have developed a skin that requires it not be pierced and affected by someone else's need. 2y
GatheringBooks @Suet624 Iza is definitely decisive, direct, & certain of her good intentions - & that she is also in the right. stubborn to a fault, but also nurtured & reared in that manner by her father who valued her voice & self-possession. could it be that Vince has unknowingly mediated between mother and daughter such that Ettie has never really “known” her daughter in an intimate manner that she can truly connect with and talk to with honesty/candour? 2y
Suet624 @GatheringBooks I hadn't thought of that. Yes, I think you're right. 2y
Aimeesue 1.My perspective on the Iza/Parents conflict is …complicated. I work for people with disabilities, mainly autism; I see this played out all the time. Kid with autism starts engaging in behavior that makes perfect sense to him and parents, who "know better" try to mitigate it in ways that make sense to them but only serve to frustrate the kid. Everybody thinks they're doing the right thing, but it's hugely frustrating to everyone involved. 2y
Aimeesue 2. Because they gave in to Iza's demands in childhood, she has absolutely no ability to empathize with her parents - she doesn't know where they come from or what that means, and as an adult, she slips into the position of power because it's expedient and easier for all involved. Plus you have societal expectations weighing on them all: good child = taking care of parents, recipient of care = must be grateful and compliant. 2y
Aimeesue 3. The original title seems more fit to me. Like Pilate, Iza obeys the letter of the law while ignoring the sentiments/ sensibilities of the people she's effectively governing. "Iza's Ballad" works too, but depends on seeing a ballad as a song of remorse/ regret/sorrow, and while we're def left there right at the end, it doesn't have the same emotional heft for me. That's just me, tho. 2y
BarbaraBB I think you are right @GatheringBooks about Vince‘s role as a mediator. You even see him playing a role while dying: he behaves to Ettie and Iza in the way they expect him to. 2y
batsy Really interesting question! Like @Liz_M the implications of the original title might have gone over my head. Iza's Ballad seems a bit of an ironic title, as if the author is showing that it's easy (or easier) to be sentimental after the loss of a parent, but that much harder to live with them in a way that honours both your integrity & the integrity of the aging parent. Iza's lament at the end touched me deeply but it is, tragically, too late. 2y
7 likes27 comments
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GatheringBooks
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Hello #NYRBBookClub people. I will be posting the discussion questions for our March book shortly with spoilers. I hope that I have successfully tagged everyone.

vivastory Yep, that's everyone! 2y
BarbaraBB Thanks! I‘m going to peek which questions I can answer without having finished the book (I am halfway). If it‘s not possible I‘ll come back tomorrow! Thanks for organizing @GatheringBooks and @vivastory 💚 2y
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vivastory @BarbaraBB I hope you enjoy the book, friend! 2y
BarbaraBB @vivastory I am, very much!! 2y
emilyhaldi I'm in the same boat as @BarbaraBB - hope to chime in soon!! 2y
vivastory @emilyhaldi Looking forward to your thoughts. I hope you are doing well! 2y
GatheringBooks @BarbaraBB our pleasure! :) 2y
batsy I'm also not done with it yet and will try to join once I do :) 2y
49 likes9 comments
review
Leftcoastzen
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

I was incredibly moved by this family story, can‘t wait for the #NYRBBookClub discussion tomorrow!

BarbaraBB I have started it too and am loving its style. 2y
Crazeedi This sounds very good 2y
vivastory I'm glad you liked it. Should be a great discussion! 2y
ValerieAndBooks I think I have one of her books in my TBR 🤔 2y
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emilyhaldi
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Finally hunkering down with this one! #NYRBbookclub

BarbaraBB I just started it too an am loving its style. How about you? 2y
Liz_M I am so jealous of your porch swing. And porch. 2y
emilyhaldi It's definitely my favorite reading spot in the house ☺️ @Liz_M especially now that it's getting warmer and everything is finally blooming! 🌱🌷🌼 2y
emilyhaldi @BarbaraBB I do like the writing style, but I‘ve only finished part 1 😅 and so far I find it to be a bit... slow. Hoping I can get more invested in the story today! 2y
71 likes4 comments
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Liz_M
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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#BookReport Currently reading (big surprise ?) Anniversaries and am halfway through Ducks, Newburyport. I had to set aside Basti to read Iza's Ballad for #nyrbbookclub.

Pictured is my "office" chair now that I am working from home.

BarbaraBB Are you enjoying Iza? 2y
Liz_M @BarbaraBB Yes -- she is a skilled writer. The first section was so well done that it was hard to read -- identifying with Ettie and being shown the disconnect between her feelings and Iza's actions. 2y
BarbaraBB Yes absolutely. I am now finished with the second part and can still identify with both of them. 2y
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vivastory
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Join my co-host @GatheringBooks & I this Sunday as we discuss Szabo's "Iza's Ballad." Discussion is 6 PM GST. The world is a different place since our last monthly discussion. I hope you & your loved ones are all healthy & as sane as circumstances allow.
@BarbaraBB @emilyhaldi @sprainedbrain @mklong @youneverarrived @LeahBergen @Leftcoastzen @Liz_M @merelybookish @MicheleinPhilly @saresmoore @sisilia @Reviewsbylola @batsy @Suet624 @Theaelizabet

Suet624 ❤️❤️❤️ 2y
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Leftcoastzen 👍👋Enjoying this one! Hope to get finished before discussion time. 2y
mklong I‘m starting today and looking forward to chatting with all of you. Thanks for keeping this going @vivastory! 2y
batsy I haven't started, but I'm looking forward. 2y
Liz_M I believe that would be 10 am NYC time. Normally I would be out at brunch, but it looks like I'll be making my own eggs and mimosa for the foreseeable future. 🍹

I've read part one and am hoping part two induces fewer winces on Ettie's behalf.
2y
merelybookish Ditto @batsy. I may be late to the discussion but am still planning to read. 2y
BarbaraBB I haven‘t started either but I hope to get to it after I finish my next read. 2y
Billypar I'm going to have to sit this one out-- my library closed indefinitely for covid-19 before my hold came in and I haven't had the wherewithal to get another copy. Enjoy the discussion: I'll be looking out for reviews to see if I should pick this up later on! 2y
sisilia I haven‘t started, either 😫 I have been too anxious to read recently. Believe it or not, I‘m still halfway Irretrievable 🤦🏻‍♀️ 2y
emilyhaldi I better get started on this tomorrow 😅 reading has been slow for me lately as well 🙁 2y
vivastory @Leftcoastzen I really enjoyed it too. Looking forward to the discussion! 2y
vivastory @Suet624 I hope you are well, Sue! 2y
vivastory @mklong I'm looking forward to your thoughts! 2y
vivastory @batsy I hope you like it. I really enjoyed it! 2y
vivastory @Liz_M Correct, 10 AM. Eggs & mimosas? I might have to add that to my grocery list... 2y
vivastory @merelybookish I think you'd like it 👍 2y
vivastory @BarbaraBB I'm looking forward to your thoughts on it! 2y
vivastory @Billypar I was straightening my books the other day & I noticed I somehow have 2 copies of it. I can send a copy to you in a few weeks when things will be hopefully back to normal. 2y
vivastory @sisilia I completely understand. I hope you and your loved ones are safe. 2y
vivastory @emilyhaldi The covid reading slump is real 😠 2y
Billypar @vivastory Thanks offering that: that's very thoughtful. I actually just saw @Leftcoastzen 's earlier post about getting the ebook: not sure why that didn't occur to me before, but my library had it, so I downloaded it. I won't be in time for the discussion but it sounds good based on the posts so far. 2y
Suet624 Does it seem like a large number of folks won‘t have read it? Should we push it back a week or is that too complicated? 2y
batsy @vivastory I'm liking it a lot :) I might not finish in time for discussion but will join in later when I do. 2y
LeahBergen I‘m sitting this one out (yep, the #covidreadingslump) but I‘ll be popping in to the discussion to see how everyone likes it. I have two other NYRB Szabos waiting on my shelf. 😄 2y
LeahBergen Is it your turn next to propose some picks for May, Scott? Yippee! 👏🏻👏🏻 2y
66 likes27 comments
review
Suet624
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

I sank into this book & enjoyed the story, even more after finishing it. It was more relatable to me than The Door, the other book I‘ve read by her, though I enjoyed that one too. Good intentions by a daughter, the loss of feeling useful, a need for love and an emotional connection, wanting to be free of expectations. These rich characters were close at hand & I yearned for all of them to find some peace. #NYRBbookclub

@GatheringBooks @vivastory

GatheringBooks glad to hear you liked it!! :) 2y
batsy Nice review! I need to get cracking on it soon and it's good to hear that you liked it. 2y
Suet624 @ead Thanks. I hope you like it too. It took me longer to read than expected so you might want to start soon. I was panicking about the state of the world so maybe that‘s why I was moving slowly through it. 🥴 (edited) 2y
saresmoore Great review! I‘m reading it slowly, too. My mom is living with us for a while and I‘m having all sorts of real-time empathy with the characters. 2y
Suet624 @saresmoore Oh gosh, Sara. My oh my. I‘ve been doing a lot of meditating and praying lately and you have always been there in my thoughts. I hope you are holding up and taking care of yourself. Much love to you. 2y
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Aimeesue
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Started this one for #NYRBBookClub. Surrounded by dogs. Drinking tea. Life is still good.

#Stella #Suzie #DogsofLitsy #pibble

Leftcoastzen 👏🐶❤️ 2y
Liz_M I am happy to hear that life is still good! 🙂 2y
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Leftcoastzen
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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#NYRBBookClub My original plan was to go to a neighboring cities library and check out a physical copy of this month‘s read.They closed down one day before I could get there.I‘m glad they did , safety first .My other library had it on Overdrive,someone just “returned “ it. Sometimes technology is grand!

vivastory I'm glad you were able to get it! 📚📚 2y
batsy That's great! 👍🏽 2y
GatheringBooks awesome! i am an overdrive convert, too! 2y
58 likes3 comments
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GatheringBooks
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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So I have finished reading our #NYRBBookClub for March, and admittedly this is my favourite from among the titles we have read, thus far; altho I did miss a few good titles last year. At any rate, I am so looking forward to the discussion at the end of this month. @vivastory here is my email address: gatheringbooks@yahoo.com so we can share notes and toss around ideas for possible discussion Qs.

vivastory High praise! I will definitely be in contact with you about the discussion. 2y
Suet624 I just finished it this morning and I really liked the book too!
2y
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DrexEdit
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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The news arrived just as she was toasting bread.

#FirstLineFridays
@ShyBookOwl

And things generally go downhill from there

MayJasper Not too cheery then? 2y
DrexEdit @MayJasper Well, it‘s not lighthearted. But the tension the author creates between two people who fundamentally misunderstand each other is sort of fascinating. (edited) 2y
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Suet624
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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“The news arrived just as she was toasting bread.” #Nyrbbookclub

Really enjoying this book, although the first line probably wouldn‘t entice you to read it. #firstlinefridays. @ShyBookOwl

DrexEdit I'm enjoying it too! 👍 2y
LoverOfLearning "The human head is of the same size and weight as a roaster chicken". - Stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers. ?? 2y
Suet624 @LoverOfLearning that‘s hysterical. 2y
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LoverOfLearning @Suet624 right! 😂😂😂 2y
jordanremington How are you doing today? 2y
Suet624 @jordanremington I‘m good. And you? 2y
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GatheringBooks
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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#MarchMadness Day 10: We are having the best #SpringBreak ever here at Ras Al Khaimah. Yesterday, we drove up Jebel Jais, the highest peak in the country, arnd 30 km drive from the bottom of the mountain, but definitely well worth the 4-wheel tortuous winding path. This is our 2nd mountain here at the UAE. I confess though to not making any dent with my reading as too busy hanging out at the beach and sightseeing. 😭📚😭But still, we photoshoot.

Eggs Great photos 👏🏻🥳👏🏻 2y
Linsy Beautiful! 2y
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GatheringBooks
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Spring Break has been moved two weeks early beginning on Sunday here in the United Arab Emirates, and so we travel for two hours to get to this beachfront gorgeous AirBnB place at Ras Al Khaimah - our home for 7 days, with the sound of the waves all around the house, and a ginormous balcony. Photos don‘t do it justice. Spending my birthday week here with a stack of books including our #NYRBBookClub pick for March is all kinds of exquisiteness.

GatheringBooks the photo above is the balcony from the master‘s bedroom. 2y
8little_paws I've heard so many good things about RAK! Have an AMAZING trip! 2y
BookwormAHN Looks fantastic 😸 2y
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Suet624 Wow! Lovely! Enjoy.... 2y
youneverarrived Enjoy 💚 2y
DGRachel Stunning! 2y
BookNAround Wow! I‘d never want to leave. 2y
Hooked_on_books Lucky you! That looks fabulous! 2y
Redwritinghood That‘s beautiful! Have a great time! 2y
SilversReviews Gorgeous...ENJOY!! 2y
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vivastory
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Join @GatheringBooks & I in March as we discuss Szabo's book. I want to thank everyone for another engaging discussion on Saturday. I was a bit apprehensive due to the mixed reactions, but it was a complete success. @saresmoore I look forward to your nominations for April. I also want to acknowledge @Rachel_nyc I didn't interact with her very much, but she had great insights in our discussions & April would've been her month for nominations.

LeahBergen RIP @Rachel_nyc . You are missed. ❤️❤️ (edited) 2y
merelybookish We can even make dull books interesting! And thank you for remembering Rachel. 2y
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Suet624 @LeahBergen I‘m sorry. Did I miss news about Rachel? 2y
vivastory @Suet624 Unfortunately she passed away a few months ago. 2y
Suet624 Oh gosh. That‘s so sad. Thanks for letting me know. 2y
LeahBergen @Suet624 Yes, isn‘t that awful? @BarbaraBB found out about it. 💔 2y
BarbaraBB Thank you Scott, for remembering Rachel. 🙏 2y
BarbaraBB Looking forward to your nominations @saresmoore 💕. You‘ve been quiet lately, I hope all is well and that you are busy being pregnant 🤰 2y
saresmoore Thank you for all your organization, Scott! Sad that I‘ll be taking Rachel‘s month, but I‘ll get those nominations up today. 2y
emilyhaldi Thank you Scott for thinking of Rachel- she is missed ❤️ I'm so looking forward to our March read... Feb was a fun one!! 👏🏻👏🏻 2y
68 likes11 comments
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vivastory
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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There are still a couple of people left to vote, but with 8 votes & the second & third nominations with 4 & 3 respectively, Szabo's "Iza's Ballad" is the clear winner. Join my co-host @GatheringBooks & I in March as we read & discuss!
#NYRBBookClub

70 likes5 comments
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GatheringBooks
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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#NYRBBookClub lovelies, here are my picks for March. All international translated lit by women, perfect as well for our #ReadIntl2020. Tagged book is translated from Hungarian, Pretending is lying is our first NyRB comic read by Belgian artist Dominique Goblet (her 1st book to be translated in English), & The Bridge Of Beyond by a French novelist of Gouadeloupean origin. Looking forward to seeing which book will have the most votes!

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vivastory Great choices!! I'm voting for 2y
Suet624 My vote would be 2y
merelybookish Yes, great choices! Happy to read any but vote goes to 2y
batsy Fascinating choices! 😍 My vote is for 2y
BarbaraBB Great choices again! Although I swoon over the cover of The Bridge of Beyond, my vote goes to (edited) 2y
LeahBergen Hmm... let me see... my vote goes to 2y
MicheleinPhilly My vote is for 2y
sisilia I vote for 2y
saresmoore Great picks! My vote is for 2y
GatheringBooks So far: Iza‘s Ballad - 6; Pretending Is Lying - 3; Bridge of Beyond - 3. BUT there are FIVE people yet to vote (excluding myself), so there is still a probability of the choice tipping to either one of the 3. exciting! (edited) 2y
BarbaraBB Ooh exciting indeed! 2y
mklong I would be happy with any of them, but I vote 2y
GatheringBooks @Sprainedbrain @rachel_nyc @leftcoastzen @emilyhaldi @Reviewsbylola - looking forward to your votes, still a probability of the choice tipping either way. 😍📚💕🧚🏼‍♀️ 2y
Leftcoastzen I would like any of them but I‘m voting for 2y
Reviewsbylola Sorry I missed the voting! It‘s been a busy few days. 2y
emilyhaldi Sorry I missed the vote!!!! But I am thrilled with all 3 options and can't wait to read the winner ... I loved The Door and have been excited to read more Szabo 🤗 2y
58 likes23 comments
review
eeclayton
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

An old lady goes to live with her daughter after her husband dies. They are both very optimistic at first, but they have very different ideas about what makes a good life, what help means, how to make the other one happy.
What a heartbreaking story.
Go and read some Magda Szabo, everyone. Her work is so full of empathy and wisdom.

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TNbooklover66
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Enjoying some porch time with my book club read. #currentlyreading

vivastory How's the book? 5y
TNbooklover66 @vivastory it's good. Hitting a little too close to home. 5y
vivastory @TNbooklover66 ill definitely check it out, hard to go wrong with nyrb classics 5y
21 likes3 comments
review
Bevita
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

Loved it. Another great story of Hungary, this one about a daughter and her mother. I found this one easier to read than "The Door." Compelling characters. Wishing for more of her books in translation. 5 out of 5.

4 likes1 stack add
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BookishTrish
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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I should check out: zero; I will check out: ???

Bookworm83 all four 😊 5y
vivastory Look forward to your thoughts on the Percy 5y
BookishTrish @Bookworm83 Three! The Laura Esquivel got terrible reviews so I gave it a miss. 5y
69 likes3 comments
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Jdscott50
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Nothing like reading and planning my TBR on a snow day...

17 likes1 stack add
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Jdscott50
Iza's Ballad | Magda Szabo
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Finally starting this one after a busy week. A nice rainy Saturday for it too!

8 likes1 stack add