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City of Thieves

A Novel
Autor: David Benioff
Sprecher: Ron Perlman
Spieldauer: 8 Std. und 28 Min.
4,7 out of 5 stars (14 Bewertungen)

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Beschreibung von Audible

Two unlikely young men charged with desertion and facing execution in the besieged city of Leningrad are charged with an impossible task: they can have their freedom if they can find a dozen eggs for the wedding cake of a powerful colonel's daughter. The two make an odd couple: one a scrawny Jewish outsider, the other an erudite charmer, and their journey takes them from the war-torn city to the snow-covered countryside. Sound like the basis of a classic movie? That might be because the author, David Benioff, is a successful screenwriter, and City of Thieves is halfway between movie-script and roman-a-clef, between airport blockbuster and serious literature.

It's a difficult balancing act, but it succeeds here in no small part due to Ron Perlman's unforgettable narration. His voice is as full of character as his celebrated face, and his bar-room drawl brings a hard-boiled noir quality to the narration. It's a voice dripping in contraband and cordite, easily navigating the Russian names and injecting a sly, seductive humor into the dialogue that offsets the occasional lapse into sentimentality. It's a fantastic performance that succeeds in tying together the disparate elements of this rich tale.

Perlman also takes great relish in conveying the myriad of tiny details that Benioff weaves into the narrative, and which lend a cinematic quality to the work. Indeed, the author's screenwriting background is evident throughout: there's a tightly-constructed plot that never loses a sense of forward propulsion, even during the quieter moments; there is a skilful interweaving of film-school tropes — the buddy movie, the coming-of-age tale, the WWII film. And there's that attention to detail. Although Benioff has clearly done his research, it's the off-beat imagery that brings to life the reality of living in a besieged city: concrete dragon's teeth are arranged to hinder the approach of enemy tanks; leather boots still bloody from the feet of the previous owners; malnourished children's bones break easily.

A slightly superfluous framing narrative alerts us to the novel's more literary aspirations. The art of storytelling is central to this tale, and the narrative brims over with literary references: doomed poets, scabrous novelists, callous propagandists. The picaresque plot recalls A Hero of Our Time, and the main action begins with a German parachutist's corpse drifting down the empty streets, an image halfway between a movie storyboard and Lord of the Flies — just one of many evocative set-pieces in this highly entertaining adventure. —Dafydd Phillips

Inhaltsangabe

From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour and When the Nines Roll Over and co-creator of the HBO series Game of Thrones, a captivating novel about war, courage, survival - and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime. 

During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible. 

By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, the New York Times best seller City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.

©2008 David Benioff (P)2008 Penguin

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  • Gesamt
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Anfangs fesselnd, aber viel unnötige Brutalität

Das Buch hat sehr gut angefangen und mich gefesselt, aber nach der 3. unnötig brutalen Szene, konnte und wollte ich das nicht mehr weiterlesen. Es wirkt billig und unseriös, als hätte der Autor die Lücken mit "Spannung" füllen wollen. Vielleicht ist es eher amerikanischer (Slaughter Genre-)Geschmack, aber meinem Geschmack entspricht es überhaupt nicht. Schade, es hat sehr vielversprechend begonnen.

  • Gesamt
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sprecher
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Amazing. But weird.

I had to read this book for school and cheated a little by listening to it on audible. But I don’t regret that decision. I hadn’t heard of Ron Perlman before (he played Hellboy) and so this was the first time I was exposed to him. He was a treat! He gave every character a distinct, interesting voice and I couldn’t imagine anyone else possibly doing it as good as he did. The production quality overall was superb. The music cues at emotional moments and not even necessarily at the end of the chapter were a perfect touch. The story was the only iffy thing about it. I really loved the characters and the setting as I am very interested in Russian history and Russian literature which came up quite a lot in the book. I think that a few things might even have been pulled from Russian literature but I’m not sure if that’s true. I thought that David Benioff was going for a fairytale approach but now I see it more like a dark-comedy. I really enjoyed it and so did my entire class, surprisingly. Even those who don’t read. I would recommend 10/10. That is, is you are okay with foul language and lots of gore.