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The Siege Paperback – 16 Dec 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (16 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241952190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241952191
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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)

About the Author

Helen Dunmore has published eleven novels with Penguin: Zennor in Darkness, which won the McKitterick Prize; Burning Bright; A Spell of Winter, which won the Orange Prize; Talking to the Dead; Your Blue-Eyed Boy; With Your Crooked Heart; The Siege, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002; Mourning Ruby; House of Orphans; Counting the Stars and The Betrayal which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She is also a poet, children's novelist and short-story writer.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kent Bookworm VINE VOICE on 11 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is an extraordinary book dealing with the stark horror of the siege of Leningrad in 1941. This isn't just a plain narrative of events that take place during the first year of the siege; we are taken into the starved, wandering minds of Anna and her family, as they are finding difficulty in working out when night becomes day, spending much of their time sleeping just to conserve energy. It is told in a matter of fact, unsentimental way of how Anna goes about the everyday business of feeding her 5 year old brother from anything that is available to eat - including the boiled skin of a leather manicure case - as well as taking care of her father, her lover and a family friend who are all living together in their small apartment. The Siege takes place during one of the harshest winters on record - something the Russians would find trouble dealing with even if they were fit, healthy and well fed. They will burn books and furniture to stay warm and eke out an existence on nothing more than a ration of 125 grams of bread a day. Many of the population can't even summon the energy to stand in the queue for this meagre ration and often die there and then in the streets. However, the book is not without hope as gradually supplies do manage to get through and the Leningraders (what's left of them) start to feel alive again, even though the Siege was to last for another few years. This book highlights the extraordinary plight of a city coping against all odds. A brilliant book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By joani m on 12 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading Zennor in Darkness by this author, I was hooked! So I purchased a couple more by her, including this one 'The Siege' - it had me gripped from the start, beautifully written, she paints pictures with words - it was a book I could not put down, reading it every chance I got - in the bath, in bed, took it to work . . . you get the idea. I so wanted to know what would happen to the characters in the book . . . . and ordered the sequel as soon as I finished it (it took me less than a week to read!). I have since read the sequel, and hope she makes it into a series with another volume! Recommended book - recommended author.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pat Laing on 29 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a brilliant book, well researched, and a powerful picture of a tragic period in Russian history.One feels the cold, this is a book steeped in real atmosphere. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in history of our time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lori on 3 July 2014
Format: Paperback
This book paints an extraordinary picture of an episode in the 2nd World War that I think is often overlooked. Not for those who like a comfortable read though - it is a very tough story. The description of the discipline necessary to survive in such difficult circumstances are very vivid. And of course 1,500,000 people did not survive - this was the death toll over the 2 years and 4 months of the blockade. The characters are so well realised - not romanticised. And the desperate attempts to keep warm made be shiver. I am not particularly Helen Dunmore fan - I picked up this book because I had become interested in this period in history when I read 'The Madonnas of Leningrad'. I am so glad that I did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter Godfrey on 21 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a challenging novel which describes very eloquently a famous episode in the 2nd world war. The novel brings home the horror visited on the citizens of Leningrad, when it is besieged by the invading by German army, by focussing on the daily life of a family trying to survive it. As their life is so grim, this is often a difficult read. The reader is encouraged to continue by the excellence of the writing containing some wonderful evocative descriptions of what the characters see. The big picture and the historical context are only referenced through asides and their impact on the characters' lives. The author demonstrates amazing imagination in painting such a detailed and convincing word picture of a situation she cannot have actually experienced. I would strongly recommend this book but only to people who are happy to imagine very distressing events that they are most unlikely to have to experience in real life. I intend to read more of Helen Dunmore's books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susana J G on 23 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
I first read this book in 2007, then re-read it two years later, and am just about to read it again. Yes, it is that good. I like Dunmore's books as a rule, but this one gripped me like no other. It is, at its most basic, a tale of a family struggling to survive during the 1941 siege of Leningrad. I have read non-fiction works about this topic and have enjoyed them but none affected me as deeply as this. It always helps to have a personal slant on a tragic event, and Dunmore has done this brilliantly. The boiling of the boot leather for soup has stayed with me since the first reading, and is one of the book's anecdotes I most frequently retell.
It convinces from the first word to the last: a simple story of survival against terrific odds. Compelling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Brooks on 27 Sept. 2013
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I read this book at my reading group. It was very well received and caused lots of discussion in the group. The terrible privations that the people of Leningrad suffered were very well documented and I can thoroughly recommend the book. It was well written and and the whole group gained a great deal of knowledge from it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By s caldwell-nichols on 18 Sept. 2013
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This is one of the best books I have ever read. I have recommended this to many people who have enjoyed it just as much as me. Love it.
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