2012 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize — Winner
2012 Governor General’s Literary Award — Finalist, English-Language Fiction
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 trauma that shadows the survivors. Set in both Budapest before and after the siege, and in the present day – in Canada, the U.S., and parts of Europe – Siege 13 traces the ripple effect of this time on characters directly involved, and on their friends, associates, sons, daughters, grandchildren, and adoptive countries.
Written by one of this country’s best and most internationally recognized short story authors – the story "The Restoration of the Villa Where Tibor Kallman Once Lived" won the 2011 O. Henry Prize for short fiction – Siege 13 is an intelligent, emotional, and absorbing cycle of stories about war, family, loyalty, love and redemption.
PEN/O. Henry Prize winner Dobozy's energetic stories, a baker's dozen, are full of Eastern Europeans (S ndor, T bor, 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 "M 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. G rbe" centers on an elderly and revered yet also overindulgent and corpulent Hungarian-born author (the titular G 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 migr nuclear scientist Otto Kov 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 Sz cs nyi Club, a Hungarian intellectual society in Toronto. Colorful and rich in detail and full of life.