**FROM THE AUTHOR OF INSIDE THE WAVE, THE COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017**
Leningrad, September 1941. Hitler orders the German forces to surround the city at the start of the most dangerous, desperate winter in its history. For two pairs of lovers - Anna and Andrei, Anna's novelist father and banned actress Marina - the siege becomes a battle for survival. They will soon discover what it is like to be so hungry you boil shoe leather to make soup, so cold you burn furniture and books. But this is not just a struggle to exist, it is also a fight to keep the spark of hope alive...
The Siege is a brilliantly imagined novel of war and the wounds it inflicts on ordinary people's lives, and a profoundly moving celebration of love, life and survival.
'Remarkable, affecting...there are few more interesting stories than this; and few writers who could have told it better' Rachel Cusk, Daily Telegraph
'Literary writing of the highest order set against a background if suffering so intimately reconstructed it is hard to believe that Dunmore was not there' Richard Overy, Sunday Telegraph
'Utterly convincing. A deeply moving account of two love stories in terrible circumstances. The story of their struggle to survive appears simple, as all great literature should. . . a world-class novel' Antony Beevor, The Times
Novelist and poet Helen Dunmore has achieved great critical acclaim since publishing her first adult novel, the McKitterick Prize winning, Zennor in Darkness. Her novels, Counting the Stars, Your Blue-Eyed Boy, With Your Crooked Heart, Burning Bright, House of Orphans, Mourning Ruby, A Spell of Winter, and Talking to the Dead, and her collection of short stories Love of Fat Men are all published by Penguin.
In a novel whose every observation is so sharp the words almost hurt, Dunmore (Talking to the Dead) takes a giant step away from her praised domestic psychological dramas set in England. This urgent narrative brings shocking news, although the events Dunmore chronicles took place six decades ago, and mirror ancient, universal struggles. It's 1941; Leningrad is under siege by the German army and the relentless winter. Thousands will starve or freeze before spring, but Dunmore shuns the moral numbness of numbers. She compels us to live inside the skin of Anna Levin, a 23-year-old artist and nursery-school teacher. In chaste yet shimmering prose, Dunmore conveys the sourness of Anna's hunger, her anguish over whether to eat an onion immediately or save it to sprout so that her five-year-old brother, Kolya, may have the precious vitamins in the new shoots. Anna's mother died when Kolya was born, and Anna must also feed her ailing father, the writer Mikhail, who has fallen out of favor with the government. As winter closes in, his one-time mistress, the faded, gallant actress, Marina, joins their household, bringing her precious hoard of cloudberry jam. Andrei, a physician who loves Anna, stumbles home from brutal days at the hospital to help huddle Kolya against the interminable icy nights. Lauded by the British critics last year, the novel is a signal achievement, and Anna is a true heroine for our times tender in love, passionate in art, unyielding in her will to survive.