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City of Thieves: A Novel by David Benioff
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City of Thieves: A Novel (original 2008; edition 2008)

by David Benioff

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3,3752461,610 (4.19)264
Member:booksandwine
Title:City of Thieves: A Novel
Authors:David Benioff
Info:Viking Adult (2008), Edition: First Edition, First Printing, Hardcover, 272 pages
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City of Thieves by David Benioff (2008)

  1. 20
    The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad by Harrison E. Salisbury (MartinRohrbach)
    MartinRohrbach: Vom Autor selbst als Referenz in dem Buch erwähnt.
  2. 10
    The Siege by Helen Dunmore (GCPLreader)
  3. 21
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (avalon_today)
    avalon_today: Kolya reminds me of Rudy, a bit older but none wiser, with his self-assurance and confidence, ok maybe he has lost some of his sweetness, but I still see the humor and zest for life.
  4. 00
    Wolf Among Wolves by Hans Fallada (infiniteletters)
  5. 00
    Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith (jennyl.keen)
  6. 01
    Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith (Ciruelo)
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» See also 264 mentions

English (230)  German (7)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (244)
Showing 1-5 of 230 (next | show all)
If the Coen Brothers were mixed with Dostoevsky, it would be this wonderful, dark comedy about two men ordered to find eggs during the Siege of Stalingrad. Funny, tragic, and philosophical all at the same without ever becoming too philosophically navel-gazingly dense to understand.

And it's written by the guy that wrote the Wolverine movie, if that trips your oddness meter. ( )
  K.t.Katzmann | May 15, 2016 |
City of Thieves is a coming of age story set in WWII Leningrad. Lev is an awkward half-Jewish teenager, son of a famous poet who disappeared in the political purges. Never fully at ease in Russian society, Lev tries to prove his loyalty as a fire brigade volunteer during the harrowing siege of Leningrad. Desperate for food, he and his friends are confronted by the police while looting the body of a dead German paratrooper. In a chivalrous turn, Lev saves a female companion from arrest, but his friends abandon him. He is thrown into prison with Kolya, a soldier accused of desertion. Kolya is everything that Lev is not, a handsome, larger than life and smooth-talking braggart, who paints himself as an expert on women and Russian literature. The odd pair are summoned by a leader of the secret police who offers them a deal: if they can bring him a dozen eggs to bake a wedding cake for his daughters upcoming wedding, they get their ration cards back (the only source of food in the city) and their freedom, and they are launched on an odyssey through the starving city and war torn countryside.

The story moves through a surreal landscape filled with terrors and absurdities, as the two dodge cannibals, search for chickens, cross enemy lines, and encounter Nazis, partisans, prostitutes and traitors. Under Kolya's tutelage, in one short week, Lev comes of age, finding his courage and confidence. As they travel together Kolya's exaggerations and half- truths are stripped away, Lev's confidence and maturity grows, and they develop a true friendship.

City of Thieves is an exciting adventure, rich in historical and cultural details, filled with suspense and characters who burrow into your imagination. Benioff has created some of the most unique and realistic characters I have read in a long time, and the book has a huge emotional range that runs the gamut from humor to terror to poignancy. The slow, grinding, destruction of the city and it's people is rendered so realistically, you'll find yourself hungry and cold right alongside them. Kolya is the funniest and most charming character I have ever encountered in a book. The book is short and it rolls along at a quick pace, the plot is filled with twists, turns and surprises, and was never predictable. While the subject is gruesome, a current of dark humor runs through the story, keeping it from becoming overly morbid or morose. There is a great deal of off color humor focusing on sex and bodily functions, but it fits the characters and context perfectly.
( )
  Kkamm | May 7, 2016 |
This was a great book about the siege of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) during World War II. The world was dark and cold, the people were starving, and the winter was long. Lev is caught in the act of thievery, a crime that would normally carry a death penalty. He is taken to the commander of the Russian army stationed in Leningrad, and sent on a mission to retrieve contraband. His travel companion is a man charged with desertion, and together they experience unforeseen hardship and unexpected friendship. This is a brutal story, filled with the worst but also the best of human nature. A truly great read. ( )
  Dmtcer | May 4, 2016 |
City of Thieves tells the adventurous story of two boys trapped in Leningrad during World War II. The two boys are thrown into jail together, where they quickly learn that they have nothing in common. Lev is a mousy, quiet spoken young man, while Koyla is charming and charismatic. However, the two are forced to work together when, instead of being executed, they are sent to find a dozen eggs for a wedding cake. While this seems like it would be an easy task, in supply-deprived Leningrad, the task is next to impossible. Koyla and Lev set off together, and their adventure takes the reader through gripping, although slightly unbelievable, events. In the end, the tale is gripping, and the characters breath life into the story through their personalities. I found myself caring for the two characters, especially during the climactic final chess match. I can see this novel being used in a study of World War II, or being read for fun by young adults with an interest in World War II.
  jstrecker | Apr 18, 2016 |
Any book that can blend humor with the siege of Leningrad and do it well deserves a high rating. Benioff does a great job of giving the reader enough detail to make the horrors of the siege real without stepping into gruesome. Wonderful, believable characters; well written. One of my big complaints with a lot of books is that they are just too long; this one is not. Nothing redundant; action keeps moving the reader forward. If you're overly squimish, or have a problem with frank sexual discussion, you will not care for this as much. Otherwise, I highly recommend it. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Benioff, Davidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gyllenhak, UlfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perlman, RonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ven, Sandra van deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
and if the City falls but a single man escapes
he will carry the City within himself on the roads of exile
he will be the City

Zbigniew Herbert
At last Schenk thought he understood and began laughing louder. Then suddenly he asked in a serious tone, "Do you think that the Russians are homosexuals?"
"You'll find out at the end of the war," I replied.

Curzio Malaparte
Dedication
For Amanda & Frankie
First words
My grandfather, the knife fighter, killed two Germans before he was eighteen.
Quotations
The Nazis had printed thousands of invitation cards to a grand victory party Hitler intended to throw at the Astoria Hotel after conquering, what he had called, in a speech to his torch-bearing strom troopers, "the birthplace of Bolshevism, that city of thieves and maggots." Our soldiers had found a few of the invitations on the bodies of fallen Wehrmacht officers. They had been reprinted in the newspapers, copied by the thousands, and nailed to walls all over the city. The Politburo hacks could not have devised better propaganda. We hated the Nazis for their stupidity as much as anything else--if the city fell, we wouldn't leave any hotels where the Germans could sip schnapps in the piano bar and bed down in the deluxe suites. If the city fell, we'd bring her down with us.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0452295297, Paperback)

From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour, a captivating novel about war, courage, survival — and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime.

During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:13 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Documenting his grandparents' experiences during the siege of Leningrad, a young writer learns his grandfather's story about how a military deserter and he tried to secure pardons by gathering hard-to-find ingredients for a powerful colonel's daughter's wedding cake.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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