It has been a while since I last read a very enjoyable book, in the genre of fiction – though this book I am talking about is no true fiction, it was based on true events. City of Thieves by David Benioff
I have to admit that without the offer strapped on the cover saying ‘We love this book so much we’ll give you two other great books for free if you don’t love it too‘ I would not even touch it, but I glad I did – it gives me a good laugh so many times, and the style of writing is my favourite – you know, the way Angela’s Ashes and ‘Tis were written. Funny and sarcastic most of the time and yes, I love it to bits. And for the fact that it was not based solely on someone’s imagination makes it a better read for the summer. But I am still drowning in the thought of how wars have shaped our lives – thanks to the book.
Here’s the storyline, just in case you need to have a glimpse before reaching for the book:
A writer visits his retired grandparents in Florida to document their experience during the infamous siege of Leningrad. His grandmother won’t talk about it, but his grandfather reluctantly consents. The result is the captivating odyssey of two young men trying to survive against desperate odds. Lev Beniov considers himself “built for deprivation.” He’s small, smart, and insecure, a Jewish virgin too young for the army, who spends his nights working as a volunteer firefighter with friends from his building. When a dead German paratrooper lands in his street, Lev is caught looting the body and dragged to jail, fearing for his life. He shares his cell with the charismatic and grandiose Kolya, a handsome young soldier arrested on desertion charges. Instead of the standard bullet in the back of the head, 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 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 to find the impossible. A search that takes them through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and the devastated surrounding countryside creates an unlikely bond between this earnest, lust-filled teenager and an endearing lothario with the gifts of a conman. Set within the monumental events of history, City of Thieves is an intimate coming-of-age tale with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.
Oh, just read this book please, it had me staying up late last night and hooked me up in bed for the whole day!
p.s. Next in line : The Silent Spring, the book which very much helped launching the environmental movement back then – gotta go through the shelves in Manchester Central Library finding this one.