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Anna Edes

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Anna Édes is a dark and deeply moving naturalistic novel, a classic work of twentieth-century Hungarian literature. A skillful portrayal of the cruelty and emptiness of bourgeois life, Anna Édes was first published in 1926 and enthusiastically received by the intellectual coffee-house society through which it circulated. The novel was later acknowledged by authors such as T Anna Édes is a dark and deeply moving naturalistic novel, a classic work of twentieth-century Hungarian literature. A skillful portrayal of the cruelty and emptiness of bourgeois life, Anna Édes was first published in 1926 and enthusiastically received by the intellectual coffee-house society through which it circulated. The novel was later acknowledged by authors such as Thomas Mann as a model of language and form, and in turn established Dezso Kosztolanyi as one of the most significant writers of Eastern European fiction. Anna is the hard-working and long-suffering heroine, the unhappy maid destroyed by her pitiless employers. Her tragic relationship with them is played out against the political turbulence in Budapest following the First World War. Yet her endurance and revenge are depicted with keen psychological as well as historical insight, becoming, in the words of the translator, "not merely an argument about social conditions but raised to genuine tragedy."


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Anna Édes is a dark and deeply moving naturalistic novel, a classic work of twentieth-century Hungarian literature. A skillful portrayal of the cruelty and emptiness of bourgeois life, Anna Édes was first published in 1926 and enthusiastically received by the intellectual coffee-house society through which it circulated. The novel was later acknowledged by authors such as T Anna Édes is a dark and deeply moving naturalistic novel, a classic work of twentieth-century Hungarian literature. A skillful portrayal of the cruelty and emptiness of bourgeois life, Anna Édes was first published in 1926 and enthusiastically received by the intellectual coffee-house society through which it circulated. The novel was later acknowledged by authors such as Thomas Mann as a model of language and form, and in turn established Dezso Kosztolanyi as one of the most significant writers of Eastern European fiction. Anna is the hard-working and long-suffering heroine, the unhappy maid destroyed by her pitiless employers. Her tragic relationship with them is played out against the political turbulence in Budapest following the First World War. Yet her endurance and revenge are depicted with keen psychological as well as historical insight, becoming, in the words of the translator, "not merely an argument about social conditions but raised to genuine tragedy."

30 review for Anna Edes

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tea Jovanović

    Podseća me na Zolu i Balzaka... :-) Priča od pre jednog veka... Nekako mi je više obećavala... Sve je nekako jasno a i nije jasno... Čudan osećaj na kraju... Dobar prevod Marije Tot Ignjatović... Kod nas je objavila Laguna...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Patrizia

    Siamo all’indomani della fuga di Bela Kun, in un’Ungheria dilaniata dalla guerra e dalla disgregazione dell’impero austro-ungarico. In un clima politico ancora incerto, la vita in un palazzo del quartiere Krizstina a Buda, riprende a poco a poco i suoi ritmi consueti, lasciando che la Storia continui fuori dalle finestre chiuse. Problema principale della Illustrissima Vizy è trovare la cameriera perfetta, preferibilmente asessuata, onesta, dedita esclusivamente al lavoro e con pochissime pretese Siamo all’indomani della fuga di Bela Kun, in un’Ungheria dilaniata dalla guerra e dalla disgregazione dell’impero austro-ungarico. In un clima politico ancora incerto, la vita in un palazzo del quartiere Krizstina a Buda, riprende a poco a poco i suoi ritmi consueti, lasciando che la Storia continui fuori dalle finestre chiuse. Problema principale della Illustrissima Vizy è trovare la cameriera perfetta, preferibilmente asessuata, onesta, dedita esclusivamente al lavoro e con pochissime pretese. Così Anna Édes le appare l’incarnazione perfetta dei suoi desideri. Già il nome le sembra di buon auspicio: “Anna – ripeté la signora Vizy e trovò simpatico questo nome femminile morbido e gentile, perché non aveva mai avuto sinora né una cameriera, né una parente con questo nome, cosa che l’avrebbe turbata assolutamente. – Anna – ripetè il nome e la parola la tranquillizzò, le cadeva addosso come qualcosa di bianco, come la manna.” Anna è riservata, non parla e non sorride. La casa torna al suo antico splendore e tutto procede al meglio. La tensione esterna è compensata dalla pace ritrovata dentro le mura dell’appartamento. Solo l’arrivo del nipote degli Illustrissimi sembra smuovere qualcosa. Ma è solo un istante, un piccolo squarcio di gioia nella monotonia della routine. Il giovane va via e si torna al grigiore di prima. Man mano che il racconto procede, Anna rimane un enigma. Ne intuiamo la tristezza, ma è come se adattandosi alla vita di casa Vizy abbia a poco a poco perso ogni tratto caratterizzante per diventare una perfetta macchina da lavoro. Poi, all’improvviso, la svolta. Un gesto definitivo che sembrerebbe estraneo alla natura di Anna, che nemmeno Anna sa spiegare e di cui l’autore lascia in sospeso le motivazioni. La scrittura di Kosztolányi è scorrevole, lucida, feroce e ambigua, come la storia che racconta. Un autore da conoscere, una letteratura da approfondire. Una scoperta di cui ringrazio nuovamente la casa editrice Anfora.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Come Musica

    Il romanzo è ambientato nel primo dopoguerra nel 1919 a Budapest. È la storia di Anna Édes una giovanissima cameriera che viene assunta in una casa di una coppia di borghesi. Viene accolta tra mille sospetti e finalmente con il suo essere pulita (a livello di intenzioni) conquista i due coniugi. È un romanzo che denuncia la cristallizzazione delle classi sociali. Ad Anna è chiesto solo di essere servizievole, onesta, affidabile e di tenere la casa pulita. Non ha importanza se desidera una vita s Il romanzo è ambientato nel primo dopoguerra nel 1919 a Budapest. È la storia di Anna Édes una giovanissima cameriera che viene assunta in una casa di una coppia di borghesi. Viene accolta tra mille sospetti e finalmente con il suo essere pulita (a livello di intenzioni) conquista i due coniugi. È un romanzo che denuncia la cristallizzazione delle classi sociali. Ad Anna è chiesto solo di essere servizievole, onesta, affidabile e di tenere la casa pulita. Non ha importanza se desidera una vita sua, una famiglia sua: il suo unico compito è quello di servire e riverire i coniugi Vizy. Fino a quando non si ribellerrà, inspiegabilmente, a questa sua condizione. E lo farà in modo da lasciare tutti senza parole. La storia mi ha richiamato alla memoria La porta di Magda Szabò.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Orsolya

    Societies all over the world are broken into hierarchies and social classes. This structure is well-exemplified in a home with servants. How does this relate to the bigger picture of government and politics? Hungarian master author Deszo Kosztolanyi explores this topic in, “Anna Edes”. On the surface, “Anne Edes” is a novel following Mr. and Mrs. Vizy (a bourgeois couple) who seek out a new maid for their household. Enter: Anna. Anna is the perfect maid, bringing not only cleanliness but also pea Societies all over the world are broken into hierarchies and social classes. This structure is well-exemplified in a home with servants. How does this relate to the bigger picture of government and politics? Hungarian master author Deszo Kosztolanyi explores this topic in, “Anna Edes”. On the surface, “Anne Edes” is a novel following Mr. and Mrs. Vizy (a bourgeois couple) who seek out a new maid for their household. Enter: Anna. Anna is the perfect maid, bringing not only cleanliness but also peace to a home during the anxious time after World War I. However, there is much more to the novel. “Anna Edes” drips with symbolism, metaphors, and an exploration of government tactics, politics, socialism, communism, etc. Although the novel is carried by simple-enough characters; the layers are numerous and detailed. “Anna Edes” is the type of novel that a teacher or professor would assign his/her students to dissect. Even though Kosztolanyi doesn’t follow the ‘normal’ form of a story with an introduction of the characters, a story arc, a climax, and conclusion; “Anna Edes” is still compelling. The characters are comforting and familiar and yet nothing is foreshadowed. Kosztolanyi is a genius at symbolic meanings and meshing together complexity with simplicity. “Anna Edes” simply has that special ‘something’ in the classical strain which results in a page turner. In line with this style, Kosztolanyi’s text/language is beautiful and classy but without being stiff and difficult to understand. It also helps that Anna Edes” contains some humorous moments breaking up the philosophy and resulting in more comfort. A negative for the general reader is the very strong Hungarian essence within the story. In order for the plot and actions of the character to truly resonate; it is best to be familiar with Hungarian culture or better yet: to be Hungarian. Therefore, “Anna Edes” may be slightly discriminating and not suited for a mass audience appeal (note: I am Hungarian but I can see where there would be issues on the pages for those who are not). “Anna Edes” is told in an omnipresent voice but doesn’t feel detached or lacking in detail. As the story progresses, the narrator alternates between the viewpoints of each character with each having his/her own qualities and freshness. This is not something every author could “get away with” but Kosztolanyi succeeds. “Anna Edes” is both entertaining and well-written. The novel does become more story-like approximately half-way through with a more character study focus; building to an unknown climax. This quickens the pace and makes the novel even more readable. The symbolism remains, though, and the reader can continue to extract underlying lessons. The climax of “Anna Edes” occurs at the end and is unexpected, creative, and well-contrived with high energy but not being overly produced. This climax is perfect to add to the novel and political satire. The final pages of the novel include Kosztolanyi incorporating himself into the pages in order to briefly mention his own opinions of the political landscape. This is slightly odd and somewhat choppy but is also understandable with the direction of “Anna Edes”. “Anna Edes” is not for everyone as it is a satire and offers manifolds of symbolism versus a traditional story novel. However, this is done gracefully and compellingly with ease. The novel is certainly set in a specific time frame but can be applied to any culture during any period. Although not Kosztolanyi’s best work (in my opinion); “Anna Edes” is recommended for those readers interested in modern classic Eastern European literature which will make one think while reading.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ben Winch

    Maybe it’s partly that, feeling out of touch with publishing options, I’ve been researching contemporary writing and small presses, but this felt very dated to me. Maybe it was bound to happen eventually, but as I read this I wondered, ‘Am I wasting my time here? Should I read something new?’ Not so much (as I’ve said before) to discover any new developments, but to get a broader idea of what literature can be at any one moment. Because Kosztolanyi, let’s face it, isn’t pushing any boundaries. J Maybe it’s partly that, feeling out of touch with publishing options, I’ve been researching contemporary writing and small presses, but this felt very dated to me. Maybe it was bound to happen eventually, but as I read this I wondered, ‘Am I wasting my time here? Should I read something new?’ Not so much (as I’ve said before) to discover any new developments, but to get a broader idea of what literature can be at any one moment. Because Kosztolanyi, let’s face it, isn’t pushing any boundaries. Judging by this and Skylark he’s a gifted, careful, understated mainstream author with easily digestible morals that, compared to a Dostoyevsky or a Hamsun, seem postively antiquated, not lacking humanity (he has that) but complexity. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but why hunt it down when there’s so many examples? Is it just the aura of an unpronounceable name, of Budapest, of the twenties, of his low sales in English – all of which says (spuriously) ‘artist on the fringes’? I’m having little luck with Hungarian authors so far: Krudy’s Sunflower, Kristof’s The Notebook, Krasznahorkai’s Melancholy of Resistance – all 3-stars in my opinion. Szerb’s Journey by Moonlight, 2. Marai’s Embers, 1. Orkeny’s The Toth Family – good but slight. I can’t yet bring myself to open Szabo’s The Door. And Kosztolanyi’s The Bloody Poet may sit on my shelf indefinitely. Well-executed. Underwhelming.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christine Bonheure

    In dit boek wordt neutraal, bijna afstandelijk verteld hoe het leven van een dienstmeid eruit zag in het begin van de twintigste eeuw in Hongarije. Kommer en kwel, werken van ’s morgens vroeg tot ’s avonds laat, zonder ooit maar één schouderklopje te krijgen. Wel veel gezaag, wantrouwen en achterdocht van de bazin. Om de twee weken enkele uurtjes vrijaf om te gaan wandelen. Hoeveel beter hebben we het nu? Kan tellen als 1 mei-boodschap. Goed tijdsbeeld door een schrijver die zich volgens mij het In dit boek wordt neutraal, bijna afstandelijk verteld hoe het leven van een dienstmeid eruit zag in het begin van de twintigste eeuw in Hongarije. Kommer en kwel, werken van ’s morgens vroeg tot ’s avonds laat, zonder ooit maar één schouderklopje te krijgen. Wel veel gezaag, wantrouwen en achterdocht van de bazin. Om de twee weken enkele uurtjes vrijaf om te gaan wandelen. Hoeveel beter hebben we het nu? Kan tellen als 1 mei-boodschap. Goed tijdsbeeld door een schrijver die zich volgens mij het lot van de onderklasse aantrok. Waar ik het moeilijk mee heb is dat er weinig aandacht aan de psychologie wordt besteed. Hoe komt Anna er in godsnaam bij om te doen wat ze doet? Ze gaat slaafs door het leven, doet wat anderen haar opdragen, zegt na wat anderen zeggen. Dienstmeid zonder stem die op die ene daad na niets van een eigen wil toont.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Iman

    Anna Édes è un libro che mi ha colpito molto. Era da un po' che non mi capitava di leggere un libro così coinvolgente. Dezső Kosztolányi ritrae la società ungherese del primo dopoguerra, un periodo storico di incertezza e sfiducia generale. Anna, una ragazza povera, proveniente da una famiglia di contadini, viene assunta come cameriera a casa dei Vizy, una famiglia benestante residente in città. Dopo la guerra, la signora Vizy sostiene sia impossibile trovare delle cameriere affidabili, tutte ma Anna Édes è un libro che mi ha colpito molto. Era da un po' che non mi capitava di leggere un libro così coinvolgente. Dezső Kosztolányi ritrae la società ungherese del primo dopoguerra, un periodo storico di incertezza e sfiducia generale. Anna, una ragazza povera, proveniente da una famiglia di contadini, viene assunta come cameriera a casa dei Vizy, una famiglia benestante residente in città. Dopo la guerra, la signora Vizy sostiene sia impossibile trovare delle cameriere affidabili, tutte mangiano troppo, rubano o hanno degli amanti e quando dopo una lunga e difficile ricerca, che Kosztolányi descrive con una punta di ironia, trova Anna, la loro vita cambia. Anna non mangia, non ruba e non ha amanti, vuole solo lavorare. Durante la sua permanenza però succedono diversi eventi che porteranno Anna e la famiglia Vizy ad un finale inaspettato e tragico. Ho trovato molto interessante il fatto che l’autore parlasse di questo periodo storico attraverso le cameriere. Infatti, durante i ricevimenti a casa dei Vizy, con altri esponenti della classe borghese, l’unico argomento di cui le donne parlano sono le loro serve. Attraverso questi dialoghi nei salotti veniamo a conoscenza della vera considerazione che queste persone hanno delle serve. Esse sono addirittura invidiate per il fatto di non avere cose a cui pensare oltre alla casa e che tutto sommato fanno una bella vita. Mi ha colpito molto la parte riguardante il pan di spagna. La signora Vizy, nel mezzo di un ricevimento, offre come segno di apprezzamento del pan di spagna ad Anna. Questa lo rifiuta dicendo che non le piace. Da qui nasce la discussione che porta a dire che Anna non vuole mangiare quel cibo i servi hanno un altro tipo di stomaco, e un cibo così prelibato non è adatto a lei. Un libro che regala uno spaccato davvero interessante sull’Ungheria di quel tempo e sul conflitto tra classi sociali. Mi è piaciuto moltissimo, lo consiglio davvero tanto.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marc Gerstein

    This is sort-of a precursor to the genre popularized by British television producers involving household servants and the families that employ them, such as Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey. But this novel, set in early-1900s Hungary, is much more compact. And the class dichotomy in Anna Edes is much more stark, exponentially so. Its setting is different: Compare the multi-generational well established British tradition around domestic service with that of the novel, where the classes are s This is sort-of a precursor to the genre popularized by British television producers involving household servants and the families that employ them, such as Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey. But this novel, set in early-1900s Hungary, is much more compact. And the class dichotomy in Anna Edes is much more stark, exponentially so. Its setting is different: Compare the multi-generational well established British tradition around domestic service with that of the novel, where the classes are seething as a result of the aftermath of WWI, a Bolshevik takeover in Hungary, and the quick elimination of Bolshevism. Another consideration: Novelists can push uncomfortable themes much further than can television producers aiming at multi-season jackpots. The employers here are the Vizys: The husband is a civil servant who aspires to move up and the wife is what you’d expect from one who shares her husband’s aspirations and self-image. Mrs. Vizy, early in the novel, decides to fire her maid who is way too uppity for her taste and replaces her with Anna, an innocent who is reputed to be a loyal hard worker. Mrs. Vizy expects a lot from her maid, and Anna really is good at what she does and strives to deliver in full. So all is well; a great happy domestic situation — or not. Hard to say much more without spoilers, except to point out that the themes here are layered one on top of the other, and actually, could be projected way forward and way beyond World War I and the comings and goings of Bolshevism. I expect most contemporary readers could easily see themselves, and identify others they know in their lives, on one side or the other of the Vizy/Anna divide. I suggest that as you read, try not to get bogged down in the historical details of post WWI Hungary. If you read with reference to your own experience, you’re likely to wind up getting a lot more out of this than Kosztolanyi (OK, I have to confess, I flipped back and forth many times while typing that in order to try to spell that name! And please don't ever ask me to try to say it aloud.) envisioned. And that, to me, is the essence of a five-star classic — something that reaches beyond its immediate environ to speak to a universal (in time and place) audience.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Eℓℓis ♥

    ... o dell'annientamento di una vulnerabile anima umana. ... o dell'annientamento di una vulnerabile anima umana.

  10. 4 out of 5

    BellaGBear

    (...) When Anna enters the Vizy’s household, she quickly becomes indispensable, especially to Mrs Vizy who finally has someone she can control and command. There is no room for Anna’s own wishes, which becomes clear when the family prevents her marriage to a chimney sweep. Also, the family doesn’t show her any real kindness or gratitude or give any thoughts to her as a person at all. They rather see her as some kind of prize bull and brag about her qualities whenever they can. Anna herself is dif (...) When Anna enters the Vizy’s household, she quickly becomes indispensable, especially to Mrs Vizy who finally has someone she can control and command. There is no room for Anna’s own wishes, which becomes clear when the family prevents her marriage to a chimney sweep. Also, the family doesn’t show her any real kindness or gratitude or give any thoughts to her as a person at all. They rather see her as some kind of prize bull and brag about her qualities whenever they can. Anna herself is difficult to understand. You never get to know much about her and her motives. She left her old family, but the book also hints that she liked it there, so why did she? Was it to protect Fiscor, or because of some fatalistic belief she will never be able to decide on her own life and is doomed to be a servant? Also, she decided not to marry the chimney sweep when the Vizy’s pressured her, but we never get to know what Anna’s thought were on either the chimney sweep or the fact she is not going to marry him. Did she love him? The answer to all of those questions remains unknown. But then again, the little space given to her thoughts in the narrative might have been deliberate to show she has no personality as a servant: she serves others and through that, her own self disappears. The book has a very violent ending, which in that line of reasoning shows that people start acting in an inhuman way when they are not treated as humans. But that is my speculation. Very smart writing in my opinion nonetheless. This book focuses on the relationships between the characters. This is put in the bigger context of post-World War One Hungarian society. There are very few descriptions of the scenery, which is a shame because that’s what I was hoping for. Anna rarely goes out, so there is not much cause to describe the scenery. Still, the psychological side of the story kept me engaged enough to finish the book quickly. Overall, the book is written in a bare-boned style. It is about 300 pages long but still manages to include many different events, spanning a few years in total. Only the necessary details are given, leaving it to the reader to figure out the details, and in that way, to understand the characters. You could read through this quickly because it is written in a style very easy to read. However, you would get more out of the book by reading it slowly, or during a second read. Especially because there were a lot of things that were hard to understand or came unexpectedly to me at first. For example the ending: it was very violent and I did not see it coming at all. However, now I’ve thought about it for a while and wrote this review, it does make more sense. There is a very subtle build-up in this book of the event to come, which I can’t tell you because of spoilers. It is definitely there though. This makes the book almost like a murder mystery where one has to look for clues to identify the culprit, where the mystery goes even deeper because one has to guess what is going to happen! A good book for anyone who likes to delve into the psychology of the characters in a book, and especially to which dark lengths the psyche of a person can go when pushed. This is part of the review written by me for Bookworms United. Read the full review here: link

  11. 5 out of 5

    Núria

    'Anna Édes' de Dezsö Kosztolányi sucede en Budapest el 1919, justo después de la caída del régimen comunista y la temporal invasión de las tropas rumanas. Ahora que la sociedad de clases ha sido restablecida por completo y todas las cosas vuelven a estar en orden, Kornel Vizy, burgués y alto funcionario del gobierno, y su mujer, Angéla, pueden respiran aliviados. El señor Vizy decide que es momento de perseguir un ascenso que hace tiempo que se le niega, mientras que la señora Vizy decide que es 'Anna Édes' de Dezsö Kosztolányi sucede en Budapest el 1919, justo después de la caída del régimen comunista y la temporal invasión de las tropas rumanas. Ahora que la sociedad de clases ha sido restablecida por completo y todas las cosas vuelven a estar en orden, Kornel Vizy, burgués y alto funcionario del gobierno, y su mujer, Angéla, pueden respiran aliviados. El señor Vizy decide que es momento de perseguir un ascenso que hace tiempo que se le niega, mientras que la señora Vizy decide que es momento de cambiar de criada. El problema es que parece que la señora Vizy tiene siempre mala suerte con el servicio: la sirvienta que no es una ladrona es una vaga, y la que no es vaga es un pendón, y la que no es un pendón es una cerda. La señora Vizy nunca ha sido capaz de conservar la misma criada más de seis meses seguidos, hasta que conoce Anna Édes, una joven que viene del campo y que parece ser la criada perfecta: limpia con una rapidez y una eficacia asombrosas, cocina bien y come como un pajarito, es dócil y pacífica, aprende rápido, no se queja nunca, no sale nunca y no aspira a nada. Los Vizy prosperan y todos los amigos y vecinos los envidian, pero lo que les envidian más es su criada. ¿Pero quién es realmente Anna Édes? ¿Qué quiere? Anna Édes no se gasta ni un céntimo de los que gana, los guarda todos en el banco. ¿Qué es lo que gusta a Anna Édes? Parece que solamente le guste trabajar. No hace absolutamente nada más. Acostumbrada a convivir con la señora Vizy, va cogiendo los tics y manías de esta. Parece que nada le afecte, que nada le importe. Anna Édes es el personaje más alienado que he conocido en toda mi vida de lectora. Es escalofríante. Y al final sucede una tragedia y yo no me la esperaba para nada, pero cuando una ha terminado el libro se da cuenta que realmente no podía haber sucedido nada más. La progresión hacia el clímax abrupto y el final desasosegante es perfecta. Está escrita que es una delicia. Me encanta. 'Anna Édes' es una novela más realista que las novelas realistas. Bueno, es que yo tengo la teoría que el realismo no es una reacción contra el romanticismo sino una evolución lógica y que, por tanto, todo el realismo decimonónico contiene elementos románticos. Pero ahora no es el momento de hablar de esto. 'Anna Édes' describe una ciudad, Budapest, y los dos mundos opuestos que hay en ella: el mundo burgués y el mundo de los trabajadores. 'Anna Édes' muestra las reminiscencias feudales que se pueden encontrar entre las relaciones entre amos y criados. Es una obra con sentido del humor, pero crítica y muy dura. Durísima. Pero creo que una lectura exclusivamente marxista de esta obra sería hacerle una injusticia. En el fondo no habla de clases sociales sino de personas. Habla de injusticias, pero no hay ni buenos ni malos. Para mí, habla sobretodo de alienación. Es muy dura. El final me ha dejado con una sensación rara en el estómago, pero es por esto que me ha gustado tanto.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Having loved Skylark, I had high expectations for this but on the whole it was disappointing. The book had a couple 'dead zones' for me, tedious sections that made me wonder what I was doing with my reading time. This was alleviated first by the character of the nephew, who adds a little zip to the story even if he turns out to be reprehensible. The end was a shock and felt wrong. Even if understandable politically, it seemed wrong character-wise. It's also quite difficult for a novelist (or poe Having loved Skylark, I had high expectations for this but on the whole it was disappointing. The book had a couple 'dead zones' for me, tedious sections that made me wonder what I was doing with my reading time. This was alleviated first by the character of the nephew, who adds a little zip to the story even if he turns out to be reprehensible. The end was a shock and felt wrong. Even if understandable politically, it seemed wrong character-wise. It's also quite difficult for a novelist (or poet) to insert himself by name into a story. When it works it's great but when it fails it really is a spectacular failure and I felt this was the case here. The author appears at the end with a bit of self-praise and it's a turnoff.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ffiamma

    una famiglia benestante alla ricerca della domestica perfetta e anna, che sembra avere tutti i requisiti. il mondo borghese, il microcosmo che si crea intorno a un palazzo, a una cerchia ristretta di amici, i pettegolezzi, le voci, la descrizione del lavoro in casa. un omicidio apparentemente inspiegabile, anche. romanzo famosissimo in ungheria- sarcastico, intelligente, a tratti claustrofobico. speriamo venga tradotto presto! (grazie a gabrilu, che mi ha incuriosito con la sua recensione)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jaroslav Zanon

    Recensione: https://adrenalibri.wordpress.com/cat... Recensione: https://adrenalibri.wordpress.com/cat...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elma

    Roman koji se čita u dahu (u mom slučaju tri dana :) , zanimljiv prije svega zbog pripovjedačeve pronicljivosti i ironije, motiviranosti i opisa Annina lika, opisa života Budimpešte u periodu od pada Kunove vlade do rumunske okupacije 1922. Najuspjelijim držim pripovjedačev postupak da u mnogo navrata skrene pozornost na pripovjedanje, odvraćajući pažnju čitatelju s Annina lika koja u tekstu postaje sve "nevidljivija", da je do samoga kraja romana u tekstu i izostavi, baš kao što je kroz cijeli Roman koji se čita u dahu (u mom slučaju tri dana :) , zanimljiv prije svega zbog pripovjedačeve pronicljivosti i ironije, motiviranosti i opisa Annina lika, opisa života Budimpešte u periodu od pada Kunove vlade do rumunske okupacije 1922. Najuspjelijim držim pripovjedačev postupak da u mnogo navrata skrene pozornost na pripovjedanje, odvraćajući pažnju čitatelju s Annina lika koja u tekstu postaje sve "nevidljivija", da je do samoga kraja romana u tekstu i izostavi, baš kao što je kroz cijeli roman kao lik izrabljivana i zanemarivana, sve više i više nestajala. Život Anne preklapa se s priovjedanjem uz porugu i osudu pripovjedača. #elmindoživljajmađarskeknjiževnosti

  16. 5 out of 5

    Helena (Renchi King)

    Priča o savršenoj sluškinji Anni Edes,početkom dvadesetog stoljeća u Mađarskoj,bila je i ostala predmetom brojnih rasprava književnih krugova. Anna je tiha,skromna i prilično ograničena djevojka koja pod prisilim dolazi raditi u buržujsku obitelj Vizy. Svjesni da su zaposlili vrlo vrijednu i odanu sluškinju,njihovu ugnjetavanju nema kraja. Iako se čini da vrlo dobro podnosi maltretiranje i manipulaciju svoje gazdarice,zavođenje njihova rođaka koje završava lošim posljedicama,toj povučenoj i jednost Priča o savršenoj sluškinji Anni Edes,početkom dvadesetog stoljeća u Mađarskoj,bila je i ostala predmetom brojnih rasprava književnih krugova. Anna je tiha,skromna i prilično ograničena djevojka koja pod prisilim dolazi raditi u buržujsku obitelj Vizy. Svjesni da su zaposlili vrlo vrijednu i odanu sluškinju,njihovu ugnjetavanju nema kraja. Iako se čini da vrlo dobro podnosi maltretiranje i manipulaciju svoje gazdarice,zavođenje njihova rođaka koje završava lošim posljedicama,toj povučenoj i jednostavnoj djevojci,jednog će dana,jednostavno,"puknuti film"! Divna knjiga koja me zainteresirala od prve do zadnje stranice.I još ću dugo misliti o njoj..

  17. 5 out of 5

    Orsi

    I had no idea where the plot was going until The Thing happened, and then it suddenly seemed like a more subtle, laid back Dostoevsky novel. The way the writing brought the characters to life was incredible, I enjoyed this book a lot and I would recommend it. Bonus point for me was the historical background, I am always soft for subtle hints at the actual state of a country at the time of the plot!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeta

    I don't why, but I had big expectations for the book. And I got a big ol' nothing. No story, the only somewhat interesting thing was the end, and even that wasn't properly explained. And I still don't get the last chapter about the author. I don't why, but I had big expectations for the book. And I got a big ol' nothing. No story, the only somewhat interesting thing was the end, and even that wasn't properly explained. And I still don't get the last chapter about the author.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Adrian Buck

    Most impressive Hungarian novel I've read since 'Relations'. Very sophisticated narrative, deeply touching, politically and psychologically astute, and playful too! All this in 1926... bit of a Master and Marguerita moment. Most impressive Hungarian novel I've read since 'Relations'. Very sophisticated narrative, deeply touching, politically and psychologically astute, and playful too! All this in 1926... bit of a Master and Marguerita moment.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Vera

    Kosztolányi egy zseni, csak azt sajnálom, hogy ismertem a történet végét mielőtt olvastam volna...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eve

    Sweet sweet Anna.... sweets can harm... As this novel does, harms the soul and diggs holes into the minde and soul. Loved every page.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    Anna Édes è un buon romanzo, una scoperta piacevole in queste settimane così cupe e strane. Parte con una trama e dei presupposti interessanti, lo stile è sobrio e schietto, senza eccessivi e innecessari giri di parole, eppure non ci ho trovato quel famoso "certo non so che", quel qualcosa che fa nascere un legame particolare con un libro e che fa dire con assoluta certezza che ce lo porteremo dietro a lungo. Avevo cominciato questo libro con tante buone intenzioni: queste letterature poco battu Anna Édes è un buon romanzo, una scoperta piacevole in queste settimane così cupe e strane. Parte con una trama e dei presupposti interessanti, lo stile è sobrio e schietto, senza eccessivi e innecessari giri di parole, eppure non ci ho trovato quel famoso "certo non so che", quel qualcosa che fa nascere un legame particolare con un libro e che fa dire con assoluta certezza che ce lo porteremo dietro a lungo. Avevo cominciato questo libro con tante buone intenzioni: queste letterature poco battute, come quella ungherese, mi affascinano e la trama, che non sto a riportare, era promettente. Non mi aspettavo la piacevole e intrigante prolissità di Sándor Márai, sarebbe impossibile e anche molto stupido che scrittori dello stesso paese scrivano allo stesso modo, ma non mi aspettavo neanche una storia che mi trasmettesse freddezza e non mi coinvolgesse più di tanto, facendomi sentire una spettatrice casuale e lasciandomi addosso quella spiacevole sensazione di non aver detto tutto o di averlo detto in modo poco soddisfacente. L'introspezione psicologica, che amo molto ritrovare nelle mie letture, qui è ridotta al minimo; non ci vuole molto a far inquadrare i coniugi Vizy, il nipote scansafatiche e i personaggi secondari, ma Anna... Con Anna è diverso. Molto probabilmente è voluto, ma Anna rimane un mistero dall'inizio alla fine della storia. Possiamo provare a intuire Anna, ma non la capiremo mai del tutto (view spoiler)[penso, ad esempio, alla storia con Jancsi. Anna, così mite e silenziosa, si lascia sedurre dal signorino e sta ingenuamente al suo gioco. Le conseguenze saranno pesanti e segneranno profondamente Anna, spingendola ad uccidere la signora Vizy, una delle fonti della sua infelicità. Come Anna arrivi a compiere un simile gesto, però, è lasciato alle nostre congetture, i suoi tormenti interiori non vengono rivelati (hide spoiler)] ; è un mistero per i Vizy, ma lo è anche per noi lettori, forse gli unici, insieme al medico diabetico, a riconoscerle quel briciolo di umanità che i signorotti non sono in grado di riconoscere alle domestiche, trattate come proprietà più che come esseri umani. Anna Édes è Anna Édes, ma è anche tutte quelle domestiche dimenticate che hanno servito e vissuto all'ombra dei loro signori. E tutta questa storia, forse, è semplicemente la storia di tanti altri signori del primo dopoguerra vissuti tra diversi regimi e repentini cambiamenti politici da cui non hanno imparato nulla se non il difendersi e cercare di salvarsi la pelle a scapito degli altri. Tutto questo è, narrativamente parlando, interessante e stuzzica facilmente la studentessa di letteratura che è sempre in me, ma per i miei gusti è sviluppato troppo in fretta e in troppe poche pagine. Lo stile (tradotto, perché questo posso giudicare) di Kosztolányi non mi è dispiaciuto, anzi, a volte uno stile che va dritto al sodo senza troppi fronzoli e parole di troppo è preferibile, però non riesco a scrollarmi di dosso l'impressione che mi sia mancato qualcosa, che sia stata una lettura troppo veloce che ha reso poca giustizia a tematiche di un certo spessore. Impressione e gusto personale che, però, non vanno ad intaccare la qualità dell'opera di Kosztolányi, di cui ho apprezzato molto il finale amaro, a mio avviso la parte migliore di tutto il libro insieme al contesto politico dell'epoca che fa da sfondo senza prendere troppo il sopravvento sulle disgrazie di Anna Édes e del suo piccolo e spietato mondo.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sara Deon

    Negli ultimi mesi il tema del conflitto di classe è ritornato prepotentemente sul piccolo e grande schermo, anche - e finalmente - in un discorso prevalentemente mainstream: dal premio Oscar a Parasite, a produzioni Netflix come “Il buco”, fino alla crisi mondiale dovuta al Covid-19, che ha esacerbato le già evidenti differenze di classe anche nel nostro Occidente. Il conflitto di classe è il perno del romanzo “Anna Édes” di Dezső Kosztolányi. Le vicende si aprono sull’Ungheria del 1919, in un pe Negli ultimi mesi il tema del conflitto di classe è ritornato prepotentemente sul piccolo e grande schermo, anche - e finalmente - in un discorso prevalentemente mainstream: dal premio Oscar a Parasite, a produzioni Netflix come “Il buco”, fino alla crisi mondiale dovuta al Covid-19, che ha esacerbato le già evidenti differenze di classe anche nel nostro Occidente. Il conflitto di classe è il perno del romanzo “Anna Édes” di Dezső Kosztolányi. Le vicende si aprono sull’Ungheria del 1919, in un periodo storico di violenti passaggi di potere, tra rivoluzioni e controrivoluzioni. In questo momento storico di profonda incertezza, la benestante famiglia dei Vizy è in cerca di una cameriera. Édes in ungherese significa ‘dolce’, e dolce sembra infatti essere Anna, la cameriera che assumeranno e che si rivela presto essere una cameriera formidabile. Tuttavia Anna non si sente altrettanto a suo agio dai Vizy: attraverso di lei vediamo e origliamo la “pošlost’” gogoliana - la banalità, la volgarità di quella classe borghese che spettegola tra le mura di casa, dove da un lato le donne trascorrono tutto il tempo a parlare male e muovere accuse contro le rispettive cameriere, e gli uomini discutono e difendono la necessità della divisione della società tra servi e signori-padroni. L’intera casa crea repulsione in Anna: i suoi abitanti, persino i miasmi, e il cibo che non riesce a toccare. Dopo l’epilogo di un rapporto che le lascerà addosso un senso di abbandono e tradimento, Anna commetterà un gesto estremo, sperando che possa costituire una via d’uscita. Lo scrittore non rivela quali siano state le ragioni di Anna che l’hanno spinta a questo gesto,ed è proprio il tacerle che assicura al romanzo un respiro atemporale, rendendolo più che attuale in questo periodo di tumulti sociali e politici: le ragioni non sono importanti,perché nessuno si cura o interessa ai problemi dei repressi. Allora non importa che Anna abbia vissuto nel primo ventennio del Novecento, a Budapest, al crepuscolo del regime comunista nel 1919: la sua storia e sofferenza è universale, e universale è anche la banalità di una classe benestante sempre più lontana e sorda rispetto al resto del popolo.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Diletta

    Cupo e giusto, Anna amica mia.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sára

    "Így homályosodott az emléke. Most már senki sem tudta róla, hogy kicsoda volt. Egészen elfelejtették. És ha nem élt volna még a márianosztrai női fegyintézetben, hanem ott pihent volna valahol a Dunán túl, a balatonfőkajári akácai alatt, akkor se semmisülhetett volna meg jobban." "Így homályosodott az emléke. Most már senki sem tudta róla, hogy kicsoda volt. Egészen elfelejtették. És ha nem élt volna még a márianosztrai női fegyintézetben, hanem ott pihent volna valahol a Dunán túl, a balatonfőkajári akácai alatt, akkor se semmisülhetett volna meg jobban."

  26. 5 out of 5

    ritarda.daria

    Budapest, primo dopoguerra. Fallisce la rivoluzione sovietica, è in corso una vera e propria restaurazione, i tempi sono tumultuosi e instabili. Ma tra le quattro mura di casa Vizy, famiglia della medio alta borghesia, l'unica cosa che conta sembra essere il trovare una cameriera perfetta. Una in grado di accudire e curare il focolare domestico senza essere ingorda, ladra, goffa o inaffidabile. Insomma diciamo pure senza essere, punto. Arriva in soccorso dei Vizy la cameriera Anna, perfetta perc Budapest, primo dopoguerra. Fallisce la rivoluzione sovietica, è in corso una vera e propria restaurazione, i tempi sono tumultuosi e instabili. Ma tra le quattro mura di casa Vizy, famiglia della medio alta borghesia, l'unica cosa che conta sembra essere il trovare una cameriera perfetta. Una in grado di accudire e curare il focolare domestico senza essere ingorda, ladra, goffa o inaffidabile. Insomma diciamo pure senza essere, punto. Arriva in soccorso dei Vizy la cameriera Anna, perfetta perché non solo svolge egregiamente tutte le mansioni che le vengono affidate, ma si può spersonalizzarla. Si può renderla piano piano un oggetto. Un oggetto utile e indispensabile, da mettere in bella mostra, ma pur sempre un oggetto. Da usare. A volte anche con un po' di sottile perversione, che non guasta. Fino a che Anna ultima tra gli ultimi, privata di tutto, troverà il modo di riappropriarsi del proprio essere. Nel più eclatante e inaspettato dei modi. Una lettura bellissima, disseminata di un'ironia sottile molto divertente. L'occasione per avvicinarmi a una letteratura che avevo solo sfiorato con Sandor Marai, che invece merita approfondimenti per la bellezza e l'attualità.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dan Plonsey

    The other book I've read by Dezso Kosztolanyi is Skylark, in which scenes of Hungarian life are rendered lusciously and lovingly, despite a plot which includes considerable heartache. It's easy to accept Kosztolanyi's declaration of himself as one who believes in “art for art's sake.” Anna Edes, on the other hand, seems to me a political and social commentary, written by an author who was justifiably afraid to express political and social commentary, which means that much cannot be said overtly. The other book I've read by Dezso Kosztolanyi is Skylark, in which scenes of Hungarian life are rendered lusciously and lovingly, despite a plot which includes considerable heartache. It's easy to accept Kosztolanyi's declaration of himself as one who believes in “art for art's sake.” Anna Edes, on the other hand, seems to me a political and social commentary, written by an author who was justifiably afraid to express political and social commentary, which means that much cannot be said overtly. Working within these constraints allowed for artistic expression which is both sly and muted. Judging from many of the reviews I've read, including the goodreads blurb which calls this a “psychological novel,” the hints are going over quite a few heads – though some hints are quite overt, beginning with Kosztolanyi's cameo appearance: three bourgeois anticommunists, seeing him, remark: “He's for everybody and nobody. He minds which way the wind blows... He knows which side his bread is buttered.” In this narratively extraneous scene, Kosztolanyi all but admits to being a subversive, hoping to pass, or more precisely, he's asking to be permitted to pass: he invents a scene depicting himself passing, being of no threat, his art reduced to cliches. (The fascist critics of the times were not fooled. They were displeased with the book, but apparently Kosztolanyi escaped any serious retribution.) The opening sentence marks the moment at which soviet-communist rule ended in Hungary: the solo aeroplane flight of Bela Kun, depicted here as comedy: Kun's pockets are stuffed with pastries, he flies close to the ground, grinning and waving to onlookers, he drops one of the many gold chains he's taken. Over the course the book – the next couple years – Hungary would transition from Romanian occupation into a long period of rule by the not-quite-fascists: fervent anticommunists and anti-semites. The red terror of the communists would give way to an even more brutal white terror. (Part of the pleasure of reading this book was looking up brief histories of Hungary from 1918 through WWII.) We are introduced to Mr. Vizy, a government official who rises to the title of under-secretary, or rather, assistant under-secretary, and his wife, whose two main interests are to contact their dead daughter in seances, and to find the ideal servant. Servants, you see, are lazy, incompetent, or thieves. The caretaker of their building, hoping to curry favor (as a former Bolshevik, he and his family live in terror), offers Anna Edes as the perfect servant. Many pages go by before Anna arrives. As a person, Anna appears to lack any characteristics. She barely speaks. Yet she is indeed perfect: she rises at 4:30, lights the fires, cleans the flat, prepares all the meals – and never eats anything herself. She is content to own only two dresses and a pair of men's shoes. She sleeps in the kitchen. Soon she is the talk of all of the doctors and lawyers and government officials with whom the Vizys mingle – servants being the principal subject of conversation in this class. While serving at a party, Anna is offered two sponge fingers to eat as a treat. Doctor Moviszter, who lives upstairs, and who seems to be the voice of Kosztolanyi (significantly, Kosztolanyi takes pains to say that the doctor is not a communist), alone suggests that Anna's refusal of the cakes is not because she doesn't like them, but that she might like them too much. We never do learn what Anna thinks herself. Others have criticized the blankness of her depiction – which I'll admit I experienced as a giant hole at the center of the story – but I believe that this was dictated by the constraints Kosztolanyi accepted in telling his story: any honest portrait of Anna would have made Kosztolanyi's political and social critique too unacceptable. Or perhaps we are being allowed to invent her character for ourselves. BTW, while researching the book, I learned that Anna's name is that of the second most popular paprika in Hungary: Edes Anna, actually; Edes meaning “sweet.” (view spoiler)[ Then along comes Jancsi, the Vizy's good-for-nothing nephew. He seduces Anna, and then abandons her without an explanation. And of course she is pregnant. He gives her some packets of powder, which make her extremely sick. We are only told that the pregnancy is terminated by the arrival of her period at the party to celebrate Mr. Vizy's promotion – the police discover her own blood while searching her the following day. Also at this party, Anna sees Jancsi for the first time in a while, attempting to seduce the young wife of Doctor M, and she stumbles into the wall of the bathroom. A few hours later, Anna emerges from that bathroom to kill Mrs. Vizy. While we are told many times that Anna did not know why she'd killed Mrs. Vizy, these hints and others at the trial, along with Jancsi's disappearance after the murders, make the killings the result of Jancsi's seduction, abandonment, and his role as abortionist. At Anna's trial, the caretaker and his wife stumble over themselves to denounce her, but in doing so, these former Bolsheviks become objects of ridicule. Druma, the anticommunist lawyer, claims to have seen Anna looking for a knife and then lurking in the bathroom – which contradicts what we know from the narration which places Anna in the living room after the guests departed. Only the doctor speaks the truth: “'My impression... is that they did not deal with her as a human being... They treated her without humanity. They were beastly to her.'” But Anna maintains her silence. Of her emotional life we've been given only fragments: she is thrilled by the brief affair with Jancsi – and she has the strength to see that it is conducted on her terms. Thus, I read this as a story of the exploitation and dehumanization of the servant class by the ruling class, and a depiction of the hypocrisy and violence of the period of “white terror.” (hide spoiler)]

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion

    I certainly enjoyed this book---colorful characters, fabulous detail, and true to its time and place. But it doesn't have the depth that I perceived in Skylark. Nothing to frown upon here from Mr. Kosztolanyi, but no shots at the moon either. 3.5 stars. I certainly enjoyed this book---colorful characters, fabulous detail, and true to its time and place. But it doesn't have the depth that I perceived in Skylark. Nothing to frown upon here from Mr. Kosztolanyi, but no shots at the moon either. 3.5 stars.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Giulia_ (_didolcezzeedifurori_)

    Molto particolare. Non è solo una storia di seduzione; c’è una forte denuncia sociale. Nella parte finale mi ha ricordato Billy Budd e Lo straniero

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    3.5

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