Author: David Benioff
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 258 Pages (Hardcover)
Release: May 2008
This is a hard book for me to talk about. Did I love it or hate it? It's a little of both. I am glad that I read it, but at the same time I kind of wish I hadn't. I don't know that I have ever read a book that had me conflicted in quite the same way.
At first I found the narrative style a little off putting, but once I got a few chapters in that started to bother me less. It worked for this story.
One thing that I really enjoyed about the book was how honest it was. Lev and Kolya were young guys trying to live in a war torn country. Something as mundane as finding a dozen eggs suddenly becomes a life or death mission. It sounds silly, but it worked. This, more than anything, showed the time and happenings better than anything. I also really enjoyed the progression of Lev and Kolya's friendship. You could tell that they genuinely came to care for each other in ways that they hadn't for others, at least not in a long time. Kolya thought of Lev as a younger brother, someone who needed taking care of and that worked really well.
There are some dark themes explored in this book, as there are in war stories, and it doesn't tread lightly. You see the horror that the everyday citizens face, that the soldiers face. And while I appreciated that, I still wasn't ever really able to connect. The entire time I was reading I felt very detached. I'm not sure if it was the writing style, the overabundane sexual references (which served a purpose, but were used too much for my liking), or something else entirely.
I can see how people would love this story and I wish that I had been able to connect with it more.