In Leningrad during World War II, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and finds himself in the same cell as Kolya, a deserter. Rather than being executed, the two boys are given an opportunity to save their own lives. What must they do? Find a dozen eggs so that the colonel’s daughter can have a wedding cake.
It made me happy that poems are referred to in the present tense even when the poet is in the past tense.
I loved this book. I flew through it. But it was by no means an easy read. Quick? Yes. Easy? No. The realities of life in Leningrad and the surrounding area during World War II made for a graphic, gritty novel. At times it was a disgusting read, a violent read, a crass read, and a graphic read. But none of it felt forced, or unnatural. And while there were difficult moments, there were also many lovely moments. Beautiful moments. Hilarious moments.
This was a refreshing World War II novel. Refreshing, because it wasn’t about the war, not really. It took place during the war. And the war was omnipresent, because, of course it was. But the story wasn’t about the war. The story was about the friendship forged between these two boys on an impossible mission in a hostile landscape.
I don’t think there is greatness in me, but there is something better than this.
I recommend this book to everyone who can bear to read it. I think this would be an excellent book for a novel study in high school, however, it would have to be introduced with several disclaimers. This book is enjoyable, and it is important. I feel richer for having read it.