- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (16 Dec. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0241952190
- ISBN-13: 978-0241952191
- Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Siege Paperback – 16 Dec 2010
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The final words of Helen Dunmore's The Siege--"No, I shall not wholly die..."(Alexander Pushkin)--respond to the stark threat with which the novel begins: "Re: The future of Leningrad ... The Führer has decided to have Leningrad wiped from the face of the earth". In this powerful work of fiction, Dunmore writes through her fascination with one of the most remarkable, and painful, episodes in Russian history: the siege of Leningrad through the winter of 1941 during which untold thousands perished of cold and starvation.
The Siege is a type of memorial, a literary document to an experience in which, as Dunmore writes, "being dead is normal". People die in the streets, in their beds; whole families are frozen, "bodies piled up by the Karpovka canal, or outside the cemeteries". What does it take to survive? Dunmore explores that question through the powerful characters--Anna Levin, Kolya (her child-brother) and Andrei (her lover)--who people this novel, conjuring the contest with death that becomes the daily existence of the Leningraders, their belief in a world beyond the siege. The Siege is itself part of that world, stricken by memory and the question of what it means for a novel (and a novelist) to take on the "flesh of all those other Leningraders who died of hunger in silent, frigid rooms". This is part of the wager, and accomplishment, of Dunmore's extraordinary book and confirmation of the extraordinary skill and sensitivity, of her writing. --Vicky Lebeau --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A Tolstoyan epic of love and war; life and death...she writes beautifully (Sunday Telegraph)
Remarkable, affecting...there are few more interesting stories than this; and few writers who could have told it better (Rachel Cusk Daily Telegraph)
Utterly convincing. A deeply moving account of two love stories in terrible circumstances. The story of their struggle to survive appears simple, as all great literature should...A world-class novel (Antony Beevor The Times)
Literary writing of the highest order set against a background of suffering so intimately reconstructed it is hard to believe that Dunmore was not there (Richard Overy Sunday Telegraph)
A remarkable parable of human survival against the odds (Mail on Sunday)
In this wise, humane and beautifully written novel she has written a masterpiece (Independent)
A searing historical novel. Dunmore vividly evokes the unbelievable cold, privations and violence as people struggle to survive...an extraordinary description of the horrors of the time (Sunday Express)
An important as well as a thrilling work of art (Independent on Sunday)
A moving and powerful novel in which Dunmore employs all her celebrated descriptive and narrative skills...beautiful (Daily Mail)
A harrowing, urgent narrative of cold, starvation and the battle to survive (Sunday Times)
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Top Customer Reviews
I have long been a fan of Helen Dunmore's work - but in my opinion this novel is the best thing she has written - a brilliant return to the form of "Burning Bright" and "A spell of Winter".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the best books I've read for a long time. Awful as the situation was for the people it was so well written that Ms Dunmore made you feel you were part of it. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Elin K Smith
Good descriptive narrative about the horrific conditions endured by Leningraders during the Second World War but I didn't find the characters particularly life like.Published 8 days ago by Raym
What a brilliant writer. I froze and starved alongside the protagonists. So glad to find she has written many more books, and one more soon to be on kindlePublished 19 days ago by Scatter
This is a harrowing story of the siege of Leningrad, which is so often overlooked, and seldom mentioned by historians and tv accounts of the last war, in fact I wonder how many... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Bizzy Lizzy
This book is set in Leningrad just before & during the seige of 1941. There is just enough space given to outlining life before the seige which enables the reader to compare the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Debra F
I have found this generally laboured and rather bleak, not just because of the subject and story line but because the characters feel remote and difficult to engage with. Read morePublished 1 month ago by jerryoh
A book that illustrates the fortitude of the human spirit against the worst that man and nature can inflict upon it. Inspirational.Published 2 months ago by jeff
I shivered while reading this. Helen Dunmore takes you right into the severity of the siege of Leningrad. The detail of survival is heartbreaking.Published 2 months ago by Christine Adams