A short novel of extraordinary power, set in Leningrad during the WWII siege, reminiscent of Rachel Seiffert and Bernhard Schlink in both its brevity ... Show synopsis A short novel of extraordinary power, set in Leningrad during the WWII siege, reminiscent of Rachel Seiffert and Bernhard Schlink in both its brevity and its impact. When German troops surround Leningrad and cut off food supplies in the autumn of 1941, no one imagines that the siege will last almost three years and take hundreds of thousands of lives. As the first 'hungry winter' sets in, the city's residents strip the bark off trees, boil and eat moss-covered stones, and trade priceless antiques for half a loaf of bread - and sex for a chunk of sugar. But the scientists at the Institute of Plant Industry pledge to protect their collection of rare seeds, painstakingly gathered from all over the world, no matter what the human cost. Through the eyes of one of the scientists we see how his small group of colleagues, including his quietly determined wife, Alena, splinters between those who would preserve their principles at the price of starvation, and others who turn to deception - and more sinister measures - to survive. His memories of the years before the war, when he travelled throughout the world and tasted the sensual pleasure's of life's lush richness, offset his heartbreaking account of the most wrenching decisions a human being can make. Hunger is a powerful, stunningly precise and beautifully written novel about human nature under life's harshest pressures, and the beauty and pain that can come of it. Reminiscent of Rachel Seiffert's The Dark Room and Bernhard Schlink's The Reader in its brevity, spareness and power, it is a quite remarkable debut.