Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.
What could have been just another book about WWII turned out to be a wonderful historical fiction, rich with human drama and relationships. The story is about 2 men, who were thrown together in one prison cell during the siege of Leningrad. Lev, a young Jewish looter who stole a Nazi's knife, and Kolya a Russian deserter. These men were supposed to be shot in the morning but were given an ultimatum to save their own lives. Kolya is funny, courageous, very smart, over sexed and a risk taker. Lev on the other hand is an inexperienced, meek young boy of 17, who has no choice but to follow Kolya on their obscure journey to find a dozen eggs for the colonel's daughter's wedding cake. In a time when food is practically non-existent, and some have even resorted to cannibalism, these two men must find eggs. Their journey takes them on a perilous adventure, risking their lives every step of the way.
The exuberant personalities of Lev and Kolya were warm and rich, juxtaposed to the cold winter war full of Nazi horrors and despair. The book depicts perfectly the chilling atrocities of war while all the while you are enjoying yourself listening to the antics of Kolya, who in today's world I believe would have been a very successful sales man. The raw language and descriptions, which may offend some, adds authenticity to the story. There is no question this is a far-fetched tale, but what an incredible journey. The story could have benefited from being a bit longer with more historical background. Definitely one of my favorites.
Ron Perlman, the narrator does an excellent job narrating. His deep, slow purposeful voice is perfect for the characters, especially Kolya.
This was a different side to the many stories told of WWII.
The very end of the story was surprising but so touching.
Each character stood alone in the story and were easily identifiable.
Yes, I would often linger at whatever I was doing so I could continue to listen.
A story of coming of age, the horrors of war, and also of love. Written to be told, and very well told by Perlman. His voices and inflections capture the personalities as Benioff must have intended. One of the best books I've read and the best audiobooks I've listened to yet.
I couldn't stop listening to this book - it was one of my most enjoyable "listens" all year.
The plot was interesting and full of unexpected moments; it held me captive throughout the book. The characters fleshed out and became likable - I'm still laughing at some of their dialogue. And the narrator was very good - a semi-gruff voice perfectly suited to a war-time tale.
I had never heard of the book, but I'm glad it was on Audible's list of 60 five-star books from 2009. Very good book.
Leningrad is under siege and it's people suffer untold hardship and death. There is a massive food shortage, and most women and children and the elderly have escaped. Two unlikely comrades meet in the city's worst jail awaiting execution. One is a Jewish teenager who is the son of a semi-famous poet. He is charged with looting because he took Schnapps and a knife off of the body of a dead German paratrooper who happened to land in the street in front of the apartment building he was guarding. The other is the oversexed son of a Cossack who left his Red Army regiment to seek his carnal pleasure only to be picked up as a deserter. Awaiting certain death, they are approached by the highest Colonel who will spare their lives if they can do one thing. The Colonel's daughter is getting married in one week, and he needs one dozen eggs for the wedding cake. If they cannot provide the eggs, they will be executed. They take off and the adventure unfolds as they experience one horrendous war story after another. They hate each other in the beginning and create a bond as the story ends in incredible ironies. The descriptive writing is compelling and immerses the reader(listener) into the character's cold, dark, funny and horrible experience. I couldn't wait to get more. Ron Perlman dose a very fine job telling the story, and the short musical interludes at the end of each chapter drive up the production value.
This was a wonderful narrative -- the characters were so likeable and the story very sad, poignant and full of futility. Well worth a listen.
Interesting insights into WWII Russia, with wonderful characters. Narration excellent.
I was very torn reviewing this book. I thought the narration was very un-even. His dialogue narration was far better than is 'story-telling' narration. That being said, I found his narration extremely monotonal. I also found the sexual language and sexual/romantic storyline to be very primal and base and not romantic or loving at all. I know that I am certainly out-numbered on this issue: I guess the base and sexually implicit language might have been pertinent to the story, but I mostly found it to be offensive and vile. It is a well written story, but not worth the accolades, I've certainly read & listened to far better WWII novels