‘Leningard is not afraid of death. Death is afraid of Leningard.’ (91) You’ve got to love war propaganda.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Older audiences, in my opinion. The language and sexual content may be too much for many readers. To a lesser degree, the violence as well (it’s a war novel after all).
Oh City of Thieves! Had I followed my feelings halfway through the book, I never would have finished it. Lev’s sexual imagery came on a bit too strong at some points, for me. The language was not a real problem. In fact, the book’s strongest point lay in its writing for me. It was one of those books where you want to quote everything. It was not enough to say ‘breathe’. There was always some effective imagery instead.
Once you get your head wrapped around the premise–two young men sent on an egg hunt during the second World War–the story lays out like many war stories do, fiction or nonfiction. Hunger. Death. Bombs. Children.
But I have never read a war novel with so much non-rape sex. Seriously. It was quite standard in content, but above par in delivery. Cannabilism, rape, starvation, elitism, betrayal–and the list goes on. The characters, on the whole, were fleshed out in all of their unwashed stench and spitting profanity. Lev, the protagonist, was the one I could relate to the most. His companion, Kolya, was odd. He was all perfection, and for a while through the book, I was waiting for any imperfection to surface. It took its time, but it did. So for anyone who threw the book down at some point, wondering if a man like Kolya could possibly exist, you will (hopefully) be satisfied by the end of the book.
One thing is for sure. I am glad I survived the profanity and Lev’s imagination. The last six-seven chapters made the entire story worth it. If you didn’t enjoy it, I can understand. But a new year now, and my challenges have begun!
Happy Reading in 2013!