Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Seige of Leningrad...and Florida, together again

The book: City of Thieves
The author: David Benioff
The story: An idea comes to a young Hollywood screenwriter, ('Young? You're 40!' 'Well, 34, actually.'), named David Benioff. Visiting with his grandparents in their retirement home in Florida, not-so-young David decides to sit down, after dinner and follow up on a stray comment his grandfather made about his experiences in 'the old country' during the war. Over some home-made plum vodka, notebooks and a tape recorder, a very bizarre sort of story evolves. Could the Lev in the story- this fearless, adventurous kid of 17, actually be David's grandfather, Lev? Or has time warped a very innocent, tiny event story into a wildly incredible tale swarming with cannibals, frozen German paratroopers, powerful Russian Colonels with a dire need for a dozen eggs in the middle of the worst siege in the history of World War II. And don't even get me started on the student/writer/probable deserter, The Courtyard Hound and a very scary, very tiny red-haired partisan sniper....with beautiful eyes.

Grading Session: 4.99 stars out of 5 -going to have to deduct a touch from the full 5 stars only because of a certain character's obsession with, well, his constipation. The last 2 sentences, though, almost make me put the point back. Read it in 2 sittings.

Lessons Learned: Never assume you know everything there is to know about those nearest, dearest and most familiar to you.

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