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

by David Benioff

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2,908None1,977 (4.2)227
Member:Milda-TX
Title:City of Thieves: A Novel
Authors:David Benioff
Info:Plume (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 258 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

City of Thieves by David Benioff (2008)

2009 (18) 2010 (14) American (14) book club (18) coming of age (35) eggs (15) fiction (320) friendship (56) historical (27) historical fiction (170) history (18) Leningrad (119) literature (13) mystery (14) Nazis (23) novel (52) own (15) read (27) read in 2009 (13) Roman (13) Russia (220) siege (20) Siege of Leningrad (43) Soviet Union (30) St. Petersburg (39) survival (41) to-read (83) war (71) wishlist (17) WWII (311)
  1. 10
    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
    Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith (Ciruelo)
  5. 00
    Wolf Among Wolves by Hans Fallada (infiniteletters)
  6. 00
    Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith (jennyl.keen)
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» See also 227 mentions

English (195)  German (6)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (209)
Showing 1-5 of 195 (next | show all)
Slowly starving, Lev Benoiv pilfers a knife and a flask from a dead German soldier on the street in front of his Leningrad apartment building. Lev is arrested by the police and locked in a cell with a deserter from the Red Brigade, Kolva. Rather than execute the two, a colonel sends them on a fool’s errand – to find a dozen eggs in the famished city. Lev and Kolva are forced to wander into the forest surrounding the city, across the German lines, in search of the eggs.

David Benoiff, author of [25th Hour] and a screenwriter, tells a unique story set against the siege of Leningrad by German forces. His heroes are unusual and approachable, eccentric without being the caricatures they could so easily be. The story is moving and exciting. Cursed by his other milieu, Benoiff’s only mistake is infusing the book with a climax and ending that is ripe for the picking in Hollywood. Outside of the book’s denouement, the rest of the story is rich and sharpened a Russian wit. And the characters never become larger than life, each exhibiting modest growth and change in a way that feels very real.

Bottom Line: A unique and well-told story of the siege of Leningrad, even if it ends a little too like a Hollywood movie.

4 ½ bones!!!!! ( )
  blackdogbooks | Apr 13, 2014 |
This book has it all; a perilous quest, a “buddy story”, history, romance, comedy and drama. I looked at it as an anti-war novel. The beauty of youth innocence set against the brutal and gruesome truths about the cost of war.

A reviewer on amazon put it best with this:
“As Americans, we often have a very one-dimensional view of World War II: "we" took out the Nazis and the Japanese. That the Soviet Union -- soon our enemy for the next forty-plus years -- was our ally, and probably had more to do with Germany's defeat than "we" did, is not something that's part of our collective consciousness.”

The injustice, regimentation, scarcity, and cruelty of life for the Russian people imposed not only by the Nazi invaders, but their own government as well, is almost unfathomable. I’m sure the people were hungrier, weaker, colder and more fearful than depicted in this book.

Some may balk at the use of profanity and violence in this book. In my opinion, the author understands that it's a young man’s inclination ; using profanity and talking about sex as a means of keeping the spirit high, amid tragedy and horrible carnage. (think *M*A*S*H )
( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
This book has it all; a perilous quest, a “buddy story”, history, romance, comedy and drama. I looked at it as an anti-war novel. The beauty of youth innocence set against the brutal and gruesome truths about the cost of war.

A reviewer on amazon put it best with this:
“As Americans, we often have a very one-dimensional view of World War II: "we" took out the Nazis and the Japanese. That the Soviet Union -- soon our enemy for the next forty-plus years -- was our ally, and probably had more to do with Germany's defeat than "we" did, is not something that's part of our collective consciousness.”

The injustice, regimentation, scarcity, and cruelty of life for the Russian people imposed not only by the Nazi invaders, but their own government as well, is almost unfathomable. I’m sure the people were hungrier, weaker, colder and more fearful than depicted in this book.

Some may balk at the use of profanity and violence in this book. In my opinion, the author understands that it's a young man’s inclination ; using profanity and talking about sex as a means of keeping the spirit high, amid tragedy and horrible carnage. (think *M*A*S*H )
( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
Great read! ( )
  wallerdc | Mar 26, 2014 |
wonderful. ( )
  alienhard | Mar 26, 2014 |
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David Benioffprimary authorall 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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:46 -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)

» see all 6 descriptions

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