Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Siege

Wow. Full marks to Val for the recommendation - and bonus point for it being a subject I couldn't believe could be such a joy to read! So good was it that, like Wolf Hall, I dread the sequel not being up to it...

I tore through it. Always found Helen Dunmore too disturbing before, so glad to have made proper acquaintance.

Favourite quotes: "the best portraits... not about exposure, they're about recognition".
"light on form"
"Anna lies still, thinking in Evgenia's voice."
"You have to protect yourself. Keep something inside yourself, that can't be used up and taken away from you... a way of responding without being eaten alive."
"I could have looked at you and Katya, out there, and known straightaway who that wall was going to fall on."
"That's Pavlov's gift: figures don't overwhelm him; they sharpen him."
Anna no story, "because it's still happening. It hasn't turned into a story yet."

Now I look at those quote, I guess she hasn't created distinctive idiolects for each character - similar voice for narrator and characters, but all brilliant, so no complaints.

Loved characters, although would have welcomed more Pavlov. Thought that the focus on a few individuals rather than the siege itself enabled the reader to engage with it rather than just pushing it away as unimaginable horror. Also enabled a relatively happy ending, although do you feel that detracted from the portrait of the siege?