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Abigail: Book summary and reviews of Abigail by Magda Szabo

Abigail

by Magda Szabo

Abigail by Magda Szabo X
Abigail by Magda Szabo
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  • Published Jan 2020
    360 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

From the author of The Door, a beloved coming-of-age tale set in WWII-era Hungary.

Abigail, the story of a headstrong teenager growing up during World War II, is the most beloved of Magda Szabó'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 willful 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 is even more aghast at the grim religious institution to which she soon finds herself consigned. She fights with her fellow students, she rebels against her teachers, finds herself completely ostracized, and runs away. Caught and brought back, 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 school's grounds 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.

There is something of Jane Austen in this story of the deceptiveness of appearances; fans of J.K. Rowling are sure to enjoy Szabó'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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"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, and this work should continue to enhance her reputation in the U.S." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Published in Hungary in 1970, and translated into English for the first time by Rix, this intricately plotted novel by Prix Femina Étranger winner Szabó complicates a predictable coming-of-age tale by setting it in perilous times...Urgent moral questions underlie a captivating mystery." - Kirkus Reviews

This information about Abigail was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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More Information

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.

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