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I am glad I read The Eighth Day of the Week by Marek Hlasko before reading 0316907197>Hunger by Elise Blackwell because it put me in the right frame of mind. Both are very intimate first hand accounts of the effects of the Second World War. Blackwell's novel covers the siege of Leningrad (September 1941 through January 1944) and focuses on the botanists at the Vavilov Institute who protected their collection of seeds despite the starvation faced by the city.
Hunger like The Eighth Day of the Week is a short novel, only 131 pages. The narrator, a not entirely sympathetic character, shuffles together the brutal truth of his wife's starvation and his affair during the siege with memories of the seed collecting trips, elaborate meals once eaten and the history of Babylon. The combination makes for a thoughtful essay on human nature.
Remarkably Hunger was Elise Blackwell's debut novel. She has two more novels published, neither of which I've had the pleasure to read but want to.
Comment #1: Tuesday, May, 19, 2009 at 01:29:10
Both of these sound good. I really like WWII fiction.
Comment #2: Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 12:44:01
Have you read any of Alan Furst's novels? They are all set during WWII.