Winner of the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize
Shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award
Built around the events of the Soviet Budapest Offensive at the end of World War II and its long shadow, the stories in Siege 13 are full of wit, irony, and dark humor. In a series of linked stories that alternate between the siege itself and a contemporary community of Hungarian émigrés who find refuge in the West, Dobozy utilizes a touch of deadpan humor and a deep sense of humanity to extoll the horrors and absurdity of ordinary people caught in the crosshairs of brutal conflict and its silent aftermath.
Observing the uses and mis-uses of history, and their effect on individuals and community, Dobozy examines the often blurry line between right and wrong, portraying a world in which one man's betrayal is another man's survival, and in which common citizens are caught between the pincers of aggressors, leading to actions at once deplorable, perplexing, and heroic. Dobozy's stories feature characters, "lost forever in the labyrinth built on the thin border between memories and reality, past and present, words and silence. Like Nabokov, Tamas Dobozy combines the best elements of European and American storytelling, creating a fictional world of his own." (David Albahari, author of Gotz and Meyer)
Dobozy’s writing has a strong and classic feel to it, and it is apparent that he knows his craft. His stories walk the fine line between the everyday and the fantastical, and the curious actions of his characters echo a loneliness that is sometimes pitiable and other times cruel, but always interesting. (Reviewed by Elena Spagnolie).
Though pedestrian prose occasionally softens the impact, these are stories worth telling, and Dobozy is a gifted storyteller in his elegant plotting and touches of surrealism.
Colorful and rich in detail and full of life.
Mark Medley, National Post (Canada)
A superb collection of short stories that revisits two of the deadliest months in Hungarian history. The book tells the stories of those who hid, those who fought, those who betrayed, those who escaped and those who died, and how the effects of the siege still linger, three-quarters of a century later.... Siege 13 is one of the best books of the year.
Jury Citation, Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize
From the dark cityscapes of besieged Hungary to the émigré cafés of contemporary North America, Siege 13 spans continents and decades, and in doing so illustrates once again that old maxim: the short story can be both as broad and as deep as a novel. At times gently humorous, at times quietly wise, Dobozy's thirteen stories dazzle with their psychological nuance and brilliant attention to detail. These stories are never less than breathtaking.
David Albahari, author of Gotz and Meyer Siege 13, Tamas Dobozy's new collection of short stories, shows us once again that he is an excellent storyteller, one of the few who keep the art of writing good short fiction alive. His stories are usually about Hungarians living outside of Hungary, lost forever in the labyrinth built on the thin border between memories and reality, past and present, words and silence. Like Nabokov, Tamas Dobozy combines the best elements of European and American storytelling, creating a fictional world of his own.
The stories in Tamas Dobozy's collection, Siege 13, look at some of the emotional and psychological consequences of the Budapest Offensive, one of the longest and deadliest military campaigns of World War II. Beginning in the autumn of 1944, the Budapest Offensive lasted though February 13, 1945. Budapest was officially surrounded on December 29, 1944, in what became known as the "Siege of Budapest". The whole campaign caused immeasurable destruction and hardship.
After having taken control of Romania in August 1944, the Soviet Red Army (an Allied force) continued to push west, setting its sights on Hungary (see map). Hungary would provide a direct link to Austria and Czechoslovakia, which would give the Allies access to the south of Germany, a very valuable route. Hungary was an ally of Germany, albeit reluctantly so. According to The Siege of Budapest: One Hundred Days in...
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