Siege 13
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Siege 13

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  140 ratings  ·  32 reviews
In December of 1944, the Red Army entered Budapest to begin one of the bloodiest sieges of the Second World War. By February, the siege was over, but its effects were to be felt for decades afterward.

Siege 13 is a collection of thirteen linked stories about this terrible time in history, both its historical moment, but also later, as a legacy of silence, haunting, and trau...more
Paperback, 339 pages
Published September 15th 2012 by Thomas Allen Publishers
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Steven Langdon
"Siege 13" has been awarded the 2012 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize in Canada, underlining just how excellent this book of short stories is. Built around one of the many horrific events of World War Two -- the longterm blockade and starvation of Budapest as the Soviet Army drove westward -- this is not just a book about the viciousness of war, it is also a probing of how one harrowing experience can shape a country and its people throughout the years as the impact of a period of grim agony...more
The short story craft at its best. These interconnected stories explore the horrors of the fall of Budapest to the Red Army during WWII and the impacts of the resulting Hungarian diaspora on subsequent generations, a topic I am embarrassed to say I knew little about until this book. Dobozy presents this dark subject with great beauty through multiple character perspectives on the impossible choices humans must make in war times and the stories they tell themselves to survive. "The Beautician," t...more
An amazing collection of dysfunctional weirdness. What recurs throughout these harrowing stories are the ways in which people everywhere are subjected to terrible actions and, if they survive, struggle to find a way to forget, remember, and/or integrate the things they've experienced, seen done to others, or done themselves. How they've been forced to make decisions none of us should have to make.

It's a brutally honest collection about the ways we create a narrative that will sustain us - whethe...more
Thing Two
This collection of thirteen stories revolve around the siege of Hungary at the end of WW2. Some deal with childhood recollections, some with dealing with the trauma in relatives, and some with the actual events as they were happening. It's not light topic, but the writing is excellent.
Terri Jacobson
An unusual book of short stories by this Hungarian author. The stories take place in Hungary (any time from WWII to the present) or else involve Hungarian protagonists. The writing is exceptional and deeply thoughtful. A book really out of the ordinary. Challenging and unique.
Steven Buechler
Books that deal with identity always make for powerful literature. Dobozy's collection of short stories show how a group of people went from the conflict of Budapest at the end of the Second World War,the occupation by the Red Army, up to immigranting to a new land, and - in some cases - the problems faced by their offspring. A well-written and well thoughtout read.

Page 66 - "The Restoration of the Villa"
It was the end of December 1944, and that night, running from the makeshift encampment and...more
Ted Parkinson
This book is very well written with the stories intertwined thematically (others have already summarized that it is about, so I won't bother). Some characters appear in more than one story. I knew nothing about the siege of Budapest prior to reading this book and now I understand its sheer brutality. I did not like all the stories. I think some are a bit too abstract and, for example, Sailor's Mouth has a nice idea but the story itself is weak. I think The Beautician is an absolutely perfect sto...more
This book is really well written but just to difficult (for me) to engage with it. All the stories are intertwined and centred around the awful awful siege of the city of Budapest. It's evident from this book that every Hungarian alive at that time in History must have been affected in a devastating way. Themes of survival, (and the accompanying survival guilt,) betrayal, revenge, cowardice, identity, despair, and a very dark humour are woven throughout. I don't need a book to "feel good" necess...more
I was unable to read all 13 stories due to time constraints, plus I don’t think I’m cut out for short stories, though I was able to get the flavour of the book. It is very well written but I wanted the characters to be more fully fleshed out as they might have been in a full-length novel, and I found myself skimming for plot points instead. At that point I realized it was time to put the book down.

However, the story that will stay with me forever was “The Animals of the Budapest Zoo.” War storie...more
Rebecca Schwarz
Although I didn't make it all the way through this collection, these are good stories and I'll definitely read more by this author. Just not right now. While I love reading about other experiences and cultures, this book reveals the problem with collections by single authors. After reading about half of it, I just can't maintain my interest in the Hungarian expatriate experience no matter how lovely each individual story might be. It's due back at the library, so I'll take a break and check it o...more
I loved this haunting collection of short stories of the events of the Budapest Siege of 1944 and how it shaped the lives of this eclectic, damaged group of people. I was particularly moved by it as I read the collection during a stay in Budapest and while reading of their history in the absolutely chilling Terror Museum. This collection made me think hard about how I would react in those circumstances.

I particularly enjoyed The Beautician, The Animals of the Budapest Zoo and The Ghosts of Budap...more
This grouping of 13 short stories, thematically linked to one another, includes how WWII affected its generation and then their children, even in other countries. Dobozy traverses a wide range exceptionally well. There is the brilliant "The Restoration of the Villa Where Tibor Kalman Once Lived", and the surprisingly dark, dark humour of "The Selected Mug Shots of Famous Hungarian Assassins". As an ensemble, the stories portray the intergenerational nightmare consequences of war, any war, with b...more
Lee Thompson
A well-crafted, ambitious collection, easily among my favourite story collections read in the past five years (which is certainly due to the strong eastern European influence in Dobozy's fiction). Lots of intelligence at work here and just enough sense of play to keep me satisfied. Dobozy crafts his stories, considers every line and plot point carefully, so there may lack a touch of spontaneity (for those of us who love that) but it's all so well done that I can forgive that. Much recommended.
Doriana Bisegna
One thing is for sure: Tamas Dobozy can write! These amazing short stories are brilliant! I have no idea how he was able to write of so many different characters with so many different scenarios. It opened my eyes to the plight of the Hungarians after WWII and how their lives were affected even when they decided to immigrate. Very powerful collection and a voice I plan to read more of in the future. Oh and he's Canadian...just thought I'd throw that in there...
Robert Campbell
Siege 13, a collection of 13 short stories inspired by the ways the siege of Budapest by the Russians in December 1944 impacted the lives of the Hungarian people, won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize in 2012. Part personal essay, part exploration of collective memory and identity maintenance, and part alternate world construction, these stories are above all else case studies of "the passing of trauma from one generation to the next" (p. 183).
These are stories that all deal in some way with being haunted by the events of the Siege of Budapest at the end of WWII, and the Soviet occupation that followed. They are beautifully written with complexity and intelligence; i found myself thinking through elements of one story or another during my day. Warning though: they have a deep melancholy that seeps into your bones while reading.
A painful but powerful read. Painful because of the subject matter. I had little idea of the 19th Century history of Hungary despite knowing several Hungarians. Those that lived through the horror, like many of the generation of the time, have learned to suffer in silence. Powerful because of the mastery of the writing. This is a book I want to reread. And reread. Lyrical, creative, stunning.
World Literature Today
"The rhythm of the series, here and elsewhere one of Dobozy’s most effective stylistic devices, is not only compelling but encapsulates the structure of the story as a whole." - Robert Murray Davis, University of Oklahoma

This book was reviewed in the May 2013 issue of World Literature Today. Read the full review by visiting our site:
Siege 13, by Tamas Dobozy, is a highly intelligent and carefully crafted collection of stories about the elusive nature of truth as it applies to human experience. The final paragraph of “Days of Orphans and Strangers” is about as close to a perfect ending as you’ll find in a story. This is a very fine collection.
This collection of linked short stories is remarkable. Dobozy writes about the 1944 siege of Budapest and its effect on its citizens, the culture and the subsequent generations. His writing is sharp, and each story carries the memories of the siege that his characters cannot let go. Excellent!!
Feb 14, 2013 Jamie added it
Fascinating stuff with roots set in the Hungarian WWII experience. Conveys that tragedy and its fallout with a great storyteller's touch. Never turns sentimental and never goes for shock or brutality for its own sake. Also, unlike anything else you'll read about the immigrant experience.
This is a series of linked short stories dealing people affected by the siege of Budapest at the end of World War II. The links are mainly the impact of the siege of the characters in the various stories. While some of the stories were engrossing, others were not.
Tried my best to read these stories about the horrific siege of Budapest during the Second World War; it's important for us to remember and sometimes fiction works best for that purpose. But I found these very heavy going and gave up after reading five.
Lorna Driscoll
A sad period in history....hard to fathom some of the things that have happened to people in wars.

The writing is powerful for sure, but I'm just not a big fan of short stories so I didn't enjoy the book as much as I feel I should have.
Provocative, tightly constructed and meaty! Dobozy's writing is definitely worth taking the time to savour.
An emotional history lesson.

UPDATE: Still can't get this fantastic book out of my mind.
Really excellent. Regretting now that I didn't take a course with him.
Milkweed Editions
2012 Rogers Writers' Trust of Canada Fiction Prize
Karen Lenar
Masterful. Love it
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Tamas Dobozy was born in Nanaimo, BC. After receiving his Ph.D. in English from the University of British Columbia, he taught at Memorial University. His work has been published in journals throughout North America, and in 1995 he won the annual subTerrain short fiction contest. When X Equals Marylou, his first collection of short fiction, was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Award. Tamas Dobozy n...more
More about Tamas Dobozy...
Last Notes: And Other Stories When X Equals Marylou Tamas Dobozy: Doggone The Literary Review: The Rat's Nest

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