A gorgeous elegy for the joy and the life once shared among three neighboring families in prewar Budapest...This is a brilliant and unforgettable novel.
Szabó's quietly captivating novel excavates the tangled history of Hungary's capital from the portentous moments before the German occupation to its suffocating postwar regime...A visceral, sweeping depiction of life in the shuddering wake of wartime.
In Katalin Street, the past is never dormant, never settled. The past is an open wound, a life force busily shaping an increasingly bewildering present. In describing Henriette's plight, Szabó writes: 'From the moment she arrived she had been left to work out the rules and the customs of the place entirely by herself.' In this extraordinary novel, the same could be said for the living.
[Katalin Street] is a brightly shining star in the Szabó universe, offering us a glimpse of Eastern Europe at a time when we need to be reminded of what happened there more than ever
This is a love story and a ghost story . . . From the height of war through to Stalinism, the 1956 Hungarian uprising and its 1968 reprise, Szabó moves us across the decades.
[U]nusual, piercing, and - given Hungary's current political climate - oddly percipient
The book depicts humanity at its rawest and saddest. As a reminder of the impact of war on humans who survive it, Katalin Street is stark, and at times harrowing; Szabó asks us to bear witness to a punishing postwar regime through a locally trained lens and the troubled, intimate lives of its inhabitants
Katalin Street's effect on me was so extraordinary that at first I couldn't decide what was most extraordinary about it: its gentle unpeeling of the tragic lives of the characters, or its gentle unpeeling of tragic life in general . . . quite unforgettable
Her fiction shows the travails of modern Hungarian history from oblique but sharply illuminating angles . . . Szabo summons the cosy, closed world with a lyrical, quicksilver touch that makes the thuggish intrusions of despotic power all the more wrenching.