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Siege 13: Storiesby Tamas Dobozy
Synopses & Reviews
He saw what the war had done to friendship after it had finished with everything else—with sympathy, with intelligence, with self-awareness, with loyalty and affection and love—all those impediments to survival, all those things that got in the way of forgetting who you were.
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 this fascinating collection 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 a wit and subtlety unique to fiction, Tamas Dobozy explores a world in which right and wrong are not easily distinguished, and a gruesome past that manifests itself in perplexing, often comical ways.
Tamas Dobozy has published over fifty works of short fiction in journals such as Granta, Agni, Fiction, One Story, and The Alaska Quarterly Review. In 2011, he was awarded a PEN/O. Henry Prize for The Restoration of the Villa Where Tíbor Kálmán Once Lived,” a story included in this collection. He was also awarded the inaugural Fulbright Research Chair in Creative Writing at New York University in 2009. Dobozy lives in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
"PEN/O. Henry Prize winner Dobozy's energetic stories, a baker's dozen, are full of Eastern Europeans (SÃ¡ndor, TÃbor, Lujza, etc.) involved in events unusual to Western readers that are part of the characters' everyday lives. A natural storyteller, Dobozy typically launches intriguingly titled tales with a declarative sentence that increases the interest: 'The Ghosts of Budapest and Toronto' begins 'MÃ¡ria didn't die in the siege of Budapest'; likewise, 'The Miracles of Saint Marx' starts: 'One of the weirder people to surface during the era of Hungarian communism...' When not in Europe, Dobozy's characters are typically strangers in a strange land. Narrated by a Fulbright Scholar studying at NYU, 'The Atlas of B. GÃ¶rbe' centers on an elderly and revered yet also overindulgent and corpulent Hungarian-born author (the titular GÃ¶rbe) who maneuvers in Manhattan like a bull in a china shop. 'The Homemade Doomsday Machine' charts a little boy's obsession with the work of Ã©migrÃ© nuclear scientist Otto KovÃ¡cs, who visits him with the machine's prototype after an exchange of letters. The centerpiece is the novella-length 'The Beautician,' an engrossing tale of love and betrayal among members of the SzÃ©csÃ©nyi Club, a Hungarian intellectual society in Toronto. Colorful and rich in detail and full of life." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Built around the events of the Soviet Budapest Offensive at the end of World War II and its long shadow, the stories in Siege 13 are full of wit, irony, and dark humor. In a series of linked stories that alternate between the siege itself and a contemporary community of Hungarian émigrés who find refuge in the West, Dobozy utilizes a touch of deadpan humor and a deep sense of humanity to extoll the horrors and absurdity of ordinary people caught in the crosshairs of brutal conflict and its silent aftermath.
Observing the uses and mis-uses of history, and their effect on individuals and community, Dobozy examines the often blurry line between right and wrong, portraying a world in which one mans betrayal is another mans survival, and in which common citizens are caught between the pincers of aggressors, leading to actions at once deplorable, perplexing, and heroic. Dobozy's stories feature characters, "lost forever in the labyrinth built on the thin border between memories and reality, past and present, words and silence. Like Nabokov, Tamas Dobozy combines the best elements of European and American storytelling, creating a fictional world of his own." (David Albahari, author of Gotz and Meyer)
From the celebrated author of Last Notes, a brilliant collection of stories exploring a world in which ordinary people are caught between the pincers of aggressors, leading to actions at once deplorable, perplexing, and heroic
Praise for Siege 13
Tamas Dobozys 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.” —David Albahari
Praise for Last Notes
Strange and intense.” —The New York Times
An artistic and intellectual boon.” —Publishers Weekly
Strikes the right balance between the surreal and the realistic. These stories have a staying power, a bleak charm that remains long after you put down the book.” —Bookslut
About the Author
Tamas Dobozy is the author of Last Notes: And Other Stories (Arcade, 2002), named a top fiction title by The Globe and Mail and When X Equals Marylou (Arsenal Pulp, 2003). His work has appeared in Granta 107, The Raritan Review, One Story, The Chicago Review, Northwest Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. His works have also been anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010, and he was awarded an O. Henry Prize. Born and raised in Canada by Hungarian-born parents, Dobozy was previously a Fulbright Scholar in Creative Writing at New York University, and he now teaches at Wilfrid Laurier University and lives in Ontario, Canada.
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