Winner of the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, an “arresting” (New York Times) and “virtuoso” (Washington Post) collection of stories that explores a world in which ordinary people are caught between the pincers of aggressors, leading to actions at once deplorable, perplexing, and heroic.
In the fall of 1944, the Red Army encircled Budapest, surrounding tens of thousands of German and Hungarian troops, and nearly a million civilians. The ensuing months witnessed one of the most brutal sieges of World War II, with block-to-block guerilla warfare followed by widespread disease, starvation, and unspeakable atrocities. Richly grounded in this historical trauma and its extended aftermath, the stories in Siege 13 alternate between the siege itself and a contemporary community of Hungarian émigrés who find refuge in the West.
Illuminating the horror and absurdity of war with wit and subtlety, Tamas Dobozy explores a world in which right and wrong are not easily distinguished, and a gruesome past manifests itself in perplexing, often comical ways.
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Praise and Prizes
“Siege 13 marks not only a turn toward history but also a leap forward in ambition. . . . Alice Munro . . . Isaac Babel . . . Those comparisons may sound daunting, but Tamas Dobozy has mastered the technical conventions of his craft. Arresting first lines open onto situations rich with dramatic potential. . . . His diction is plain-spoken but the cadences are lovely and swell his sentences to unusual, sinuous length.”
“The sheer variety of Tamas Dobozy’s approaches to telling stories, and his commitment not only to provoke thought but to entertain, constitute a virtuoso performance.”
“The siege of Budapest by the Red Army, which took place near the close of the Second World War and lasted more than a hundred days, informs each of the stories in this collection. . . . Each story confronts its characters with impossible choices, often forcing them to weigh physical security against moral preservation in a ‘desire to find a way out when there is none.’”
“Siege 13 shows us once again that Tamas Dobozy 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, Dobozy combines the best elements of European and American storytelling, creating a fictional world of his own.”
“Colorful and rich in detail and full of life.”
“These are stories worth telling, and Tamas Dobozy is a gifted storyteller in his elegant plotting and touches of surrealism.”