City of Thieves
reads like a novelized "buddy movie"
(think Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Thelma and Louise
). This odd couple is comprised of Lev
(small, dark, cowardly, morose, virginal and awkward) and
Kolya (tall, blonde, handsome, funny, brash, rakish and
confident), who together take what amounts to a war-time
"road trip." Like movies of the genre, the principals move
through scenes that are alternately tragic and exhilarating,
culminating in an exciting, action-packed finish as the
heroes realize their goal. It's hard not to like tales that
fall into this pattern, provided they're reasonably
well-done - and City of Thieves
certainly is more
than well-done it's exceptional.
Benioff (who wrote the screenplay for The Kite Runner
Beyond the Book
The Siege of Leningrad
(September 1941 - January
1944) was one of the longest and most destructive in modern
history - spanning 900 days and four Russian winters. Though
the actual civilian death toll can never be known it is
estimated that well over 600,000 of the approximate 3
million population died, with some estimating the death toll
as high as 1.5 million. About 80% died of starvation.
When the siege began, the city had approximately 30 days'
worth of food on-hand. Rationing began almost immediately,
but Leningrad's citizens weren't informed how low supplies
truly were, presumably to keep them from panicking.
Restaurants continued operating as normal for quite some