Wednesday, 23 November 2011

REVIEW:- Helen DUNMORE - “The Siege“

Year Published: - 2001
Where the book was from:- My cope- ex-library
ISBN: - 9780670897186
Pages: - 291pp
Genre: - Historical novel
Location:- Leningrad, 1941
How I came across it: - Serendipity
Rating: - ***** ***** (I originally graded this as nine stars but later decided it merited ten)

One sentence summary:- The residents of Leningrad are under siege from the Germans who have surrounded the city resulting in a struggle not only to avoid the shells but to fight starvation and, in the process, hope for love.

Describe the plot without giving anything away:-
The besieged people of Leningrad face not only shells and starvation but also the biting Russian winter. This tale interweaves the love affairs of two generations. The Levin family struggle to stay alive during this terrible winter and the realistic plot is a genuinely moving account of the horrors that war can inflict on people's lives.
The Beige was nominated for the Whitbread Prize and the Orange Prize for Fiction.

General comments:-
I've only just discovered that Helen Dunmore wrote a sequel in 2010 – The Betrayal. I promptly ordered it from Amazon!


I stood for a long time, looking at Kutuzov's statue... There were just the two of usd, Kutuzov and me. It's all very well for you, I thought. I may even have said something aloud. You are stone. You are safe inside history. But we are still flesh, trapped in a [present we don't understand, and being shoved towards a future we can't predict. The times are scared, and so are we. If only I could forget what human blood smells like.

“We could die out here!” Katya cried ghe first time the planes came over. She stated in horror, as if it had never occurred to her. Someone is trying to kill me, me, Katink, with my top grades in physics and chemistry, me, with my ambition to be a doctor, me, with my new summer dance-dress waiting at Gostiny Dvor.

Even if the high-up ones went completely crazy, they couldn’t stop apples growing on apple trees.

AUTHOR Notes:- Helen Dunmore was born in the UK in 1952. She has published six novels with Viking and Penguin, including A SPELL OF WINTER, winner of the Orange Prize. She is also a poet and a children's novelist. She lives with her family in Bristol.

New or unusual words - nil

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