Tuesday, November 29, 2011

{read: WWII fiction with a twist} City of Thieves by David Benioff

I just re-read this for a book club discussion and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. I appreciated the very specific premise of this book, perhaps because I read it again during NaNo: Two young men apprehended by the NKVD in Leningrad during the seige are given a possible reprieve from execution: find a dozen eggs before the wedding of the NKVD colonel's daughter on Thursday. That this task is nearly impossible is almost beside the point. That, in the end, it turns out to have been pointless yet costly seems to underscore the futility and insanity of war.

Kolya is a character who's impossible to resist, and his focus on the trivialities of daily life (what characteristics does Lev have that might make him attractive to the young sniper partisan Vika?) makes the cold, the hunger, and the long walks almost seem bearable. Although everything is a struggle for Lev, life seems to come easily to Kolya. Nothing shakes him, and he has a ready plan for every situation. Yet in the end, we see that Lev has more resources than we might have given him credit for.

City of Thieves by David Benioff (Viking Adult, 2008)
My rating: 4 stars

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