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Abigail
Abigail | Magda Szabo
15 posts | 15 read | 21 to read
From the author of The Door, a beloved coming-of-age tale set in WWII-era Hungary. Abigail, the story of a plucky teenager growing up during World War II, is the most beloved of Magda Szab's books in her native Hungary. Gina is the only child of a general, a widower who has long been happy to spoil his bright and wilful daughter. Gina is devastated when the general tells her that he must go away on a mission and that he will be sending her to boarding school in the country. She doesn't understand why her father won't tell her where he is going or why he insists that she must not seek to get in touch with him under any circumstances, and she is aghast at the grim religious institution to which she soon finds herself consigned. She fights with her fellow students, she rebels against her teachers, and when she finds herself completely ostracized by all and sundry, she runs away. Caught and brought back and subjected to even sterner disciplinary measures, there is nothing for Gina to do except entrust her fate to the legendary Abigail, as the classical statue of a woman with an urn that stands on the schoolgrounds has come to be called. If you're in trouble, it's said, leave a message with Abigail, and help will be on the way. And for Gina, who is in much deeper trouble than she could possibly suspect, a life-changing adventure is only beginning. Abigail is told in Gina's own voice, and if Gina emerges from its pages as someone who has a lot to learn about life it also becomes clear that she is up to the task. Szab surrounds her intrepid, if not always insightful, heroine with characters who are no less memorable, among them the austere and beautiful teacher Susanna and her colleagues, bumbling Knig, who always seems to be in the wrong place at the right time, and the suavely handsome Kalman. There is something of Jane Austen in this story of the deceptiveness of appearances; fans of JK Rowling are sure to enjoy Szab's picture of irreverent students, eccentric teachers, and boarding school life. Above all, however, Abigail is a thrilling tale of suspense.
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review
Redwritinghood
Abigail | Magda Szabo
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Mehso-so

I found the pace of this book incredibly slow. A lot of the book is centered around Gina‘s attempts to fit in at a restrictive girls‘ school and her feelings that her father has abandoned her. There is a lot of petty squabbling among the girls. Also, the mystery of Abigail is not very hard to figure out. 3⭐️

Gogobooks Thanks for the impression. Did you read, ‘the door‘? 1y
Redwritinghood @Gogobooks No, but I have a copy and plan to read it. 1y
Gogobooks I liked that one very much. It was a popular choice in my book club. 1y
43 likes3 comments
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charl08
Abigail | Magda Szabo
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But as she warmed to her task and became absorbed in the essay - it was one that every school child in the country was asked to write in November 1943 - she found her buoyant mood fading. Looking along the rows of heads bent over exercise books she thought of how, back in the dormitory, the girls talked about absolutely everything but the war.

charl08 Cont. There was scarcely one of them who did not have someone at the front, the thought of it was always there, just below the surface of their consciousness; and yet all they ever whispered about was love, their teachers, and what had happened in lessons that day. She was the only person in the class who worried about why it had all started and how it might end. 1y
charl08 Cont. Some of the pupils were actually in mourning; they were allowed to ignore the usual rules and wear whatever they chose under their school uniforms to mark their grief. The father of one of the first years had fallen in the summer, and the same had happened to a girl in the seventh year. The orphans whimpered and shed tears whenever they thought about it, but their loss never led them to ask whether things could have been any different. 1y
starlight97 Love this book 💕 1y
Suet624 This looks to be yet another winner by Szabo. 1y
47 likes4 stack adds5 comments
blurb
Suet624
Abigl | Magda Szabo, Zsolt Pozsgai
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I signed up for the New York Review of Books subscription program in November. I kept writing to them because I hadn‘t received any books. I‘ve been away from my apartment for two weeks and when I returned these books and a lovely tote bag were all waiting for me. I ordered a Month in the Country separately for our Litsy NYRB book club‘s February selection. #NYRBbookclub

BarbaraBB That is the best kind of mail 😍😍 (edited) 1y
sarahbarnes 😍😍😍 1y
Suet624 @BarbaraBB It felt more like Christmas than the actual holiday did! 1y
See All 13 Comments
Liz_M That tote! 😍 1y
Suet624 @Liz_M I‘m kind of in love with it. 🥴 1y
batsy Oooh 😍 1y
LeahBergen I have Abigail, too. 👍🏻 1y
Suet624 @LeahBergen have you read it? 1y
merelybookish Wow! I always get those emails to join but have resisted thus far! 1y
LeahBergen Nope! It‘s still TBR. 😄 1y
Suet624 @merelybookish it‘s my guilty pleasure. 💕 1y
sisilia Awesome mail 1y
kspenmoll Their covers ate beautiful! 1y
56 likes13 comments
blurb
eeclayton
Abigail | Magda Szabo
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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 📚🙌🏻 2y
OriginalCyn620 I enjoyed Murder On the Orient Express! Hope you do too! 2y
Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick I recently bought Abigail but hadn't heard of it until I saw it. 2y
eeclayton @Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick Here in Hungary Abigail is considered a modern classic and is required reading in some schools. So it's been on my radar for a long time! 2y
15 likes4 comments
blurb
Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick
Abigail | Magda Szabo
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My B&N mini haul from last week. I needed to get out of the apartment for something other than grocery shopping and picked up this little haul, including a sticker & activity book for my niece's birthday. (No, really, it's for her! I swear! 😁) The tagged book was on a bookseller recommendation display and since it's #witmonth I figured it was meant to be mine.

review
CindyMyLifeIsLit
Abigail | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

Gina is a 15 year old whose mother has died and whose father is an officer in the Hungarian army. For her own safety, he sends her to an extremely strict religious school across the country. There she struggles to understand her banishment and how to fit in with the arcane rules and the other students. Will the mysterious Abigail help her? You‘ll have to read it to find out! 😁

45 likes1 stack add
review
arubabookwoman
Abigail | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

A lovely coming of age story. Gina is puzzled when her General father sends her to a cloistered boarding school across the country during WW II. After her sophisticated life in Budapest, she has a hard time fitting in, as the dangers of the war move inexorably closer, and she learns the true reasons for her exile. #ReadingEurope2020 Hungary @BarbaraBB

BarbaraBB Ooh another by Szabo. I‘ve loved Iza‘s Ballad and have The Door on my shelves but this one sounds so good too. Also, NYRB 😍 2y
GatheringBooks It‘s the first i am hearing of this! Stacked! 2y
31 likes3 stack adds2 comments
review
Bevita
Abigail | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

LOVE LOVE LOVE this author. Story of a girl who is enrolled/hidden in a remote religious institution because her father-a general-is rightly concerned that when the Nazis take Hungary, they will torture his child (Gina) to make him reveal the other dissenters. Of course I love Eastern Europe and Szabo was a fantastic author. Only wish more of her work was in translation.

Nebklvr I have had a book of hers on my list for months 2y
5 likes1 comment
review
sisilia
Abigail | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

5⭐️ The General‘s daughter was sent to this strict boarding school. Typically, she didn‘t like it at first until she realized that she had no choice but to adapt. When the girls felt lost, they consulted the magical Abigail statue, who would really rescue them. So who is this Abigail? I love this warm and funny coming-of-age story; the suspense was keeping me on my toes and made this a wonderful read

erzascarletbookgasm Good to know, I‘ve just received my copy. Nice review! 2y
QuintusMarcus I‘m so glad you liked this and commented on it — I‘ve been on the fence but will now definitely read! 2y
72 likes5 stack adds2 comments
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Christoffer
Abigail | Magda Szabo
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Mehso-so

I really liked reading this book. It was enjoyable from the start and through to the end. Rich characters, sharp setting, good dramas.

What I can‘t quite discern is how the mystery should be understood. The “surprising” revelation at the end seemed quite obvious. So obvious that I assumed it was intended as such. But if so, why did we not hear more about Gina‘s change after she saw what we‘d anticipated all along?

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DannyOlda
Abigail | Magda Szabo
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So I'm only about halfway through, and it's only February but I'm pretty sure this will be one of the best books I read this year. It really feels like it should be required reading. So I already bought The Door also by Szabo in anticipation of wanting to read more by her.

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Bookboss
Abigail | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

I read a good amount of fiction set in WWII, as well as history books on the time period. I don‘t believe I have ever read a book set in Hungary during the war. This novel tells the story of a daughter of a Hungarian General. He sends her to a religious boarding school to get her out of harm‘s way during the war. I loved this coming of age story, even though I thought I was done with coming of age stories. I loved it.

review
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled
Abigail | Magda Szabo
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Pickpick

Coming of age story set during WWII in Hungary, but so much more than just the story of a young girl.
Gina is sent away to The Matula, an all-girls boarding school, and is soon ostracized and plans her escape.
But the real reason behind her being sent away is slowly revealed, and the teachers are involved.
Gets slow in the middle and has a bent toward YA, but definitely worth the read.
Thanks to Edelweiss!

emilyhaldi Oohhh I haven‘t heard much about this one! 3y
Sace This sounds really good. I could not resist pre-ordering it. 3y
ju.ca.no Sounds good! 3y
See All 6 Comments
overtheedge I enjoyed Katalin Street and The Door. Cant wait for this! 3y
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled @sace I hope you enjoy it! I certainly did! 3y
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled @overtheedge Im looking forward to reading The Door! I didn‘t even realize at first that I had already bought a book by this author. Hope you enjoy this one! 3y
60 likes2 stack adds6 comments
review
starlight97
Abigl | Magda Szabo, Zsolt Pozsgai
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Pickpick

I read this so long ago but I remembered the secret of the statue, and I think it just made it more interesting that I knew it all along and I could pay attention to smaller details. I think it's a really interesting historical fiction / YA novel. #hungarian
★★★★☆

Chrissyreadit @starlight97 What other book or author is popular and gives a glimpse of Hungarian life? My Father and Grandfather spoke Hungarian but I have only two words....igen and nem. So sad for my limited heritage. 4y
starlight97 @Chrissyreadit some award-winning books by Hungarian authors: No Live Files Remain by András Forgách, Tranquility by Attila Batis, The White King by György Dragomán, Celestial Harmonies by Péter Esterházy, Fever at Dawn by Péter Gárdos. Homo Hungaricus by János Lackfi looks like it can give you a good idea about Hungarians. Hope you find something good! :) 4y
19 likes1 stack add2 comments
blurb
starlight97
Abigl | Magda Szabo, Zsolt Pozsgai
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I think this will be my next #audiobook. I remember reading this as a kid and loving it. It's even a compulsory read in some schools here. I think it's been translated to English so I can recommend it to everyone! #youngadult #hungarian