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City of Thieves: A Novel by David Benioff

City of Thieves: A Novel (original 2008; edition 2009)

by David Benioff

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3,2282261,719 (4.19)255
Title:City of Thieves: A Novel
Authors:David Benioff
Info:Plume (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 258 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

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 255 mentions

English (212)  German (7)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (226)
Showing 1-5 of 212 (next | show all)
Santa put this 2008 book in my Christmas stocking, and though I’d listened to it in the audio version several years ago, I enjoyed it just as much the second time around, in print. If you asked whether I’m a fan of coming-of-age novels, I’d probably say “no,” but this is the second one I’ve recently given a top ranking.
The story takes place during the 872-day siege of Leningrad, one of history’s longest, in which the starving residents were reduced to eating the glue in their books. Two young Russians, strangers to each other, are thrown together on an impossible quest: Lev—a short, dark, Jewish 17-year-old caught looting a dead German—and Kolya, 20 years old, tall, blond, and charming, a Red Army private accused of desertion. Either of these crimes is punishable by firing squad, no questions asked, and they have only this one sliver-thin chance to save themselves: find a dozen eggs so that the daughter of an NKVD colonel can have her wedding cake.
Lev narrates the tale of how the two search the desperate, lawless city and the countryside thick with snow and Nazis, in their search. It begins: “You have never been so hungry; you have never been so cold.” And while there is misery in drifts, Kolya’s irrepressible nature brings much humor to the telling as well so that, as USA Today said, “This spellbinding story perfectly blends tragedy and comedy.”
Benioff is the co-creator and showrunner for Game of Thrones, and wrote the screenplay for The Kite Runner, so it’s no surprise he can tell an exciting story—and he can tell it well. ( )
  Vicki_Weisfeld | Nov 3, 2015 |
Since Goodread now provides plot outlines with each book I'm not going to bother with details...

Benioff's novel is cinematic in all the best ways (not, say, like Dan Brown's mess); a cleverly crafted story rich in atmosphere, with a certain swagger to the writing. It's funny in the most unlikely situations (it is after all set during the siege of Leningrad), and a great buddy-story.

I like Benioff's writing, he has a flair for a turn of phrase which made me smile while reading this. ( )
  VladVerano | Oct 20, 2015 |

I wholeheartedly endorse this novel.

With the caveat that there are a few parts that are pretty darn difficult to read. This being a book about WWII, the Germans vs. the Russians, the siege of St. Petersburg, and a whole lot of hunger, it's not too surprising that there are sections that detail how horrible human beings can be, especially brainwashed human beings. (Or evil at heart. I cannot decide, in the end.)

The remainder of my endorsement is valid because while you wince and cry and gnash your teeth at the horrors of war, a page later you are actually laughing at the interaction between these two very, very different youths. And loving how their differences are championed by the author. I mean, if this isn't a showcase for diversity, I don't know what is.

And it's another of those books that has a well-considered last line, and I do always love well-considered last lines (and the plot structuring that goes with it). ( )
  khage | Sep 11, 2015 |
How can I say that I really enjoyed a book about the horrendous siege of Leningrad during World War II? The situation was unbearably dark and depressing. People would do anything for food. They ate the glue holding books together. Belts and shoes were the basis of many soups. People deluded themselves that they were getting nourishment from eating icicles. Cannibalism was not unheard of. Even with all of these horrors, this story of two mismatched young Russians on a search for one dozen eggs to secure their freedom is both a coming of age story and a commentary on the strength of the human spirit. At times darkly comedic, it was a well written novel and a quick read. Yet I think I will remember these two lovable characters for some time. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
This book takes place during the siege of Leningrad. In times of massive food shortages, a Russian colonel sends two Russian prisoners on a mission to find a dozen eggs for his daughter's wedding cake. Their journey takes them through Leningrad, the countryside, and behind enemy lines. It is at once humorous, heartbreaking, and touching. Well written, engaging, and a quick read, I would recommend it to all. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
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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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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
For Amanda & Frankie
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My grandfather, the knife fighter, killed two Germans before he was eighteen.
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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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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