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The Siege by Helen Dunmore

The Siege (2001)

by Helen Dunmore

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
678None14,026 (3.89)1 / 366
  1. 30
    The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway (gennyt)
    gennyt: Both are stories of cities under siege, and the struggles of ordinary people for survival in dangerous and extreme conditions.
  2. 20
    The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean (Imprinted)
  3. 00
    Through the Burning Steppe: A Wartime Memoir by Elena Kozhina (Imprinted)
  4. 00
    The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad by Harrison E. Salisbury (Imprinted)
  5. 00
    The Conductor by Sarah Quigley (avatiakh)
  6. 00
    The Life of an Unknown Man by Andreï Makine (GoST)
    GoST: Another historical novel about starvation and survival during the Siege of Leningrad.

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English (32)  Norwegian (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
A wonderful book. ( )
  oldstick | Jan 8, 2014 |
All the more harrowing for being so beautifully written. ( )
  Becchanalia | Nov 2, 2013 |
The author effectively captures the Siege of Leningrad and allows the reader to experience it through the eyes of Anna, a young woman who with her father, younger brother, her father's mistress, and a young man from Siberia are caught in the Seige. Some survive, some don't.

The writing is clean and cold; sentences are short and direct. There is almost a lack of emotion throughtout the book (perhaps that is why some reviewers say they cannot connect with the characters), but the style of writing, I feel, is what makes "The Seige" so realistic. It was an unbelieveably terrible time for everyone; for the soldiers as well as the civilians. The author includes short chapters which provide a views from the "officials" or soldiers. This works to strengthen the story as told by Anna.

I'm not up on my WWII history and truthfully, knew nothing about this particular event of the War; much of WWII historical fiction centers on the Holocaust. This story certainly adds another perspective of what was truly a terrible time in history. Warning, the story is not pretty, but it is not unbearable nor is it depressing. There is a strength and respect for those that endured this horrible time.

For those interested in the Siege of Leningrad, check out The Madonnas of Leningrad: A Novel (P.S.) ( )
  maryreinert | Aug 17, 2013 |
Another excellent novel from Helen Dunmore, The Siege really takes the reader on an emotionally charged journey at the expense of her characters. There's something about her prose - the almost visceral descriptions of life under the brutal Nazi occupation leaves you feeling as though you've shared their pain and privations. Well deserved five stars.
© Anthony Harrison 2012

( )
  Ant.Harrison | Apr 28, 2013 |
Interesting book. Not at all what I expected (romancy book). I did think it a bit too slow. It was a bit of a struggle to keep on reading but overall a good read. ( )
  Marlene-NL | Apr 12, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
The Siege is an agonising read, but also a numbing one. The novel, which narrates the first and worst winter of a siege that lasted from 1941 until 1944, animates the senses in order to feel them shutting down.
added by kake | editThe Guardian, John Mullan (Feb 5, 2011)
[L]anguage that is elegantly, starkly beautiful. . . quieter and more powerful than her earlier work.
In limpid and careful prose, with an intermittently choric narrator, Dunmore presents a community in travail.
added by kake | editThe Independent (Jun 16, 2001)
Admirers of Dunmore's thrillers such as Talking to the Dead and With Your Crooked Heart may be disappointed by her decision to wrestle with the raw materials of history. Nevertheless, it is the lasting achievement of The Siege convincingly to narrate a horrifying war story from the point of view of the hearth, not the trenches.
added by kake | editThe Observer, Michael Williams (Jun 10, 2001)
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Re: The future of Leningrad

...The Fuehrer has decided to have Leningrad wiped from the face of the earth.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0802139582, Paperback)

The Siege is one of those novels that is as redemptive as it is shattering, and they don't come much more shattering than this. The year is 1941, and the good people of Leningrad are squeezed between fear of Stalin's secret police and rumors that the Germans, despite the incredulity of military experts, are rapidly advancing on their great city. When the inevitable happens, 22-year-old Anna, an artist and the sole support for her young brother, invalid father, and the latter's former mistress, learns to survive the devastation and mass starvation that the siege brings. In the worst days of winter, Anna falls in love with a doctor, Andrei, who returns her passion, creating an oasis of emotional privacy within the hell of war. The Siege is expertly anchored in sometimes unbearable details of the assault on Leningrad; the book's sense of place and the author's great skill at pumping immediacy into the cold facts is something to behold. But this is, finally, a novel about extremes of experience, from rampant cruelty to the redemptive power of one person's love. --Tom Keogh

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:44 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Leningrad, September 1941: German forces surround the city, imprisoning those who live there. The besieged people of Leningrad face shells, starvation and the Russian winter.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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