Posted on 2011-07-26. By anonymous.
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Publisher: Viking Adult
Language: English ISBN10: 0670018708
Size: 4.2 MB
I liked City of Thieves for a number of reasons. First, Benioff does an excellent job setting the story up. It begins as a narrative of his own life as a writer and then evolves into getting his grandfather Lev to tell him the story of his experience during the war. All the author knows is that "my grandfather, the knife fighter, killed two Germans before he was eighteen". The story unfolds as a narrative told to his grandson. Second, the characters of Lev and Kolya were well-drawn and engaging even if Lev and Kolya did play into a couple of stereotypes, Lev the shy, quiet, intelligent Russian of Jewish descent is scrawny, short, and horribly shy around girls and seems to be able to do no more than dream wistfully of some dreamlike romantic encounters when he gets older. Kolya is handsome, tall, athletic and an accomplished Romeo. He has, if even some of his stories are true, become quite accomplished in the art of seduction. Third, the plot is well designed and well thought out. This seemingly bizarre search for eggs takes them through the dangerous streets of Leningrad into German-occupied territory where they meet up with a local group of partisans. Each story unfolds as a self-contained vignette but each has its own climactic moment that propels the reader into the next chapter. Last, Benioff has done an excellent job in creating a historically accurate picture of Leningrad during its siege. I've read a lot of non-fiction accounts of life in Leningrad, Stalingrad, and Moscow during the early years of WWII and nothing in this novel strikes me as out of touch with life during the siege including the Colonel's request for two dozen eggs.
The outcome of the story may be thought of by some as predictable but I found the ending more than satisfying even if some of the `results' did not take me totally by surprise.
I think City of Thieves is an excellent story and well worth reading.
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