Magda Szabo was one of the best writers of the 20th century in any language, much loved in her native Hungary, and The Door is perhaps her most highly regarded novel among work that included fairy tales, plays and teenage fiction. Szabo has a way of creating sympathy for unlovable characters, and here the relationship between the woman writer and her cleaner is not just a brilliant story of a deep and transforming relationship, but a description of the strange way things happen during wars, and the importance of a community for all of us. Szabo's writer peels away the layers of character of her cleaner Emerance almost compulsively and without realising what she's doing. This book reminds me of everything that's beautiful and valuable in life. It's a pity more of Szabo's work isn't translated for a wider audience.