Iza’s Ballad: Book Review

Iza's Ballad

A beautiful and moving read about family and loss. There is a sense of fragility throughout this book, brought about mostly by the exploration of the characters by telling the same tale from each of their viewpoints. It’s a book that shows how easy it is to misunderstand the actions and motivations of others, and most sadly, even of those closest to us. It is a jewel of a book for any writer as the author reminds us that it isn’t what happens to a character that makes a story, but how the character feels about what is happening that is at its centre.

There is a sense throughout that we can never truly know what another human being is, no matter how dear they are to us. The sense of distance conjured between the characters is unsettling, ultimately heart-breaking, but so truthful and insightful that you can’t fail to love them and their story.

I watched ‘The Invisible Woman,’ this week too, a film about Dickens and his life. In it something he wrote in a Tale of Two Cities is referenced. I think the extract contains the same sentiment that is present in this novel:

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it! ”



  • Just finished reading this and have been looking around to see what other bloggers have noted it as I mull over my own Rv. I just loved it, even more than “The Door”. A poet translated by a poet is a great combination. It s quite a heartbreaking book, looking so steadfastly at the precariousness of happiness.

    • Sorry for the late reply! Been away a little while. You’re so right – I was blown away by it. I actually read it before ‘The Door’. Just read that one on holiday and it is beautiful. I don’t know which one I prefer, but Magda is such an amazing author. And absolutely – ‘a poet translated by a poet’ is a very special combination! Love to read your review – will come and have a read! 🙂


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