Helen Dunmore: The Betrayal



Her the now teenaged Kolya Anna works in a daycare Andrei is a pediatrician and Kolya is sullen It is spring Leningrad has been rebuilt and replanted but Stalin is still in power so veryone still lives in fear During the siege you feared Germans starvation and freezing to death now you fear your neighbors your hopes and your government The plot in The Betrayal is touched off by a sick boy Gorya He is brought into the hospital where Andrei works The boys symptoms coupled with his parentage set off warning signals for the first doctor who Doglands examines him and he is palmed off on the dedicated and too politically trusting Andrei Gorya s father is a powerful man in the government and party Volkov It is Andrei who has to tell Volkov and his wife the bad news Gorya has cancer His leg will need to be amputated butven that Riveted (Iron Seas, extreme is no guarantee that Gorya will recover So the stage is set of the collapse of the fragile safety Anna s family hasnjoyedThe research behind The Betrayal is meticulous Dun uses it wisely to An Officer and a Spy escalate the action in the novel and not to hit you over the head with facts The day to day details of her characters lives jobs and of Leningrad are all intriguingly laid out within the history of the period to recreate this world of suspicion Dun shows us that her characters have already seen the worst life has to offer and are now willing themselves to believe that this fear filledveryday can be normal The one weakness in The Betrayal is the unassailable goodness of Anna and Andrei It s not uite believable to see these survivors of the siege as Fates (Fates, emotionally stable as Dun portrays them to be This makesverything in the story a little less complicated than it could be The Betrayal is an intelligent and captivating novel Helen Dun writes with an Recipe for Temptation (Madewood Brothers, effortless clarity that belies her research and careful plotting You certainly do not have to have read The Siege tonjoy this new novel but if you do Or have then the journey of Dun s characters is that much absorbing Why do we think that the present is stronger than the past They are not ven separate The past is alive waiting It claims what is its own Rarely have I read a novel so ffective in OBaby evoking the feeling of Stalinist Russia the suffocating overwhelming paranoia of a place whereveryone is alert to dissenters saboteurs and Nerds enemies of the state where people are willing to inform on those around them to save themselves or just to improve their own situation Dun builds the uncertainty watchfulness and selfishness into the very bones of her story making her two main characters Anna and Andrei stand out all the Perhaps it was this dichotomy that made them seem unreal to me but they were almost too perfect self sacrificing brave hopeful Again this may say about me than them but where I could imagine all the other people in the novel with real clarity these two were just too good to be believed The book offers them as a symbol ofnduring love able to persist Zack (Areion Fury MC even in the most difficult of times a confidence well at odds with their daily lives and gut wrenchingnough in the climate of the novel to make the reader sick with worry for them It was masterfully done by the author Shadow on the Crown (The Emma of Normandy Trilogy, each word chosen formotion and impact Her death this year was a sad loss but i m thankful that it brought me to her works Alas this Seuel StagnatesI ContamiNation ended my review of Dun s The Siege set in Leningrad during the German blockade of 1941 43 with the words the survivors have rediscovered their humanity In this seuel however set ten years further on the loss of humanity has returned at least for large sections of the population Now it is not warfare or famine that they fear but the tentacles of the Soviet apparatus run by an increasingly paranoid Stalin where you must remain professionally invisible to keep your job and denounce your own husband or wife to avoid the destruction of yourntire family The authorities have ven suppressed all memorials of the Siege as ill befitting the image of Soviet action in the Great Patriotic War so ven the sense of shared heroism that lighted Dun s arlier novel is replaced here by a timorous despairI cannot go further without revealing the names of the survivors from the arlier novel hence the spoiler For those that have read the preuel however I do have to sayview spoilerBesides its overall grayness this later novel suffers from Dun s handling of the. Leningrad Andrei a young doctor and Anna a nursery school teacher are forging a life together in the postwar post siege wreckage But they know their happiness is precarious like that of millions of Russians who must avoid the claws of Stalin's merciless Ministry of State Security When Andrei is forced to treat the seriously ill child of a senior secret police officer his very move is scrutinized and it becomes painfully clear that his own fate.

Having read Helen DunThe Siege I had her seuel on my shelf for a very long time and decided it was time to read it I wasn t blown away by the The Siege but still was intrigued by the blurb of The Betrayal and decided to read it but this novel is also a bit flat and dullSet in Leningrad in 1952 toward the nd of the reign of Stalin Anna a nursery school teacher and her husband Andrei a doctor live a uiet The Magic Rolling Pin existence in their two room apartment They try hard not to come to the attention of the authorities but when Andrei has to treat the seriously ill child of a senior secret police officer he finds himself and his family caught in an impossible game of life and deathThe blurb makes you want to delve into this book and read and read to thend but for me this was a slow and flat read and I felt there was something lacking in the story perhaps it was the lack of historical detail or no connection with the characters I also found the climax of the story frustrating and lacked imaginationOn the plus side I felt that Dun portrayed the fear and the suspicions of the time very well and how living in fear of your neighbours and friends was an Indecent... Exposure (Indecent, everyday and real occurrence this is a short novel and not too taxing Having read a good few books on this period of history this is not one of the better ones I would still really recommend Child 44 and City of Thieves Distressingly brilliant Follow up to the outstanding The Siege set 10 years or so post war just before Stalin s death which occurs at thend of the book Andrei is a paediatric doctor specialising in infant rheumatism Anna is a teacher in an Not Without a Fight efficient soviet run nursery Kolya a 15 year old piano playing Anna in particular is still haunted by the memories of the cold and hunger siege A marvelous read Soviet Russia comes to life in all its paranoid complexity seen through theyes of one achingly poignant family an idealistic young doctor and his uiet wife both survivors of the Leningrad siege and its appalling starvation All they want is to Garden Bouquets and Beyond enjoy the tiny pleasures of life allowed by the state and build a life together but the wheels of power have a way of grinding people like this into paste and they both know the danger they are in when the young doctor is called upon to treat the mortally ill son of a very powerful party member If the boy dies anntire family may be wiped out in casual retribution and The Unseen Wonder everyone knows it I was flipping the final pages with my heart in my throat deeply terrified for the fate of one small fictional family Despite the Booker long listing or maybe because of it I approached this one with some trepidation I ve never read any Helen Dun and I remember being put off by a review of Mourning Ruby that called it like a Russian doll too literary for me I thought and I ve never touched her stuff since So I pick this one up and then find it s a seuel to The Siege which I haven t read but don t be put off by that I wasn t and it worked perfectly as a stand alone And I now have a new author to add to my list of favourites and acuire thentire back catalogue this book was uite superbSet in 1950s Leningrad in the last days of Lenin we The Management Bible encounter Andrei the paediatric doctor his wife Anna who works in a kindergarten and Anna s young brother Kolya These are good people in a loving household and against thextraordinary tension and oppression of the last days of Lenin we watch them doing the ordinary things of life weekends at the dacha Zu schnell eking out the food arguing with neighbours meeting friends dressing for a dance When Andrei finds himself leading the hospital treatment of the dying son of Volkov a chief of the secret police the world comes crashing down in a way that makes you want to do something about the unjustness of itThe characterisation is superb major and minor characters alikeven Volkov whose anger fear and irrationality can In The Siege her novel set during the 900 day siege of Leningrad Helen Dun created a can t look away portrait of a city and people in unimaginable circumstances Her map of motives loyalties and Sleepless (Bird of Stone, escalating struggle is spellbinding Now Dun has brought us a seuel to thatxcellent novel The Betrayal This new book is the next chapter in the lives of Anna Andrei and Kolya The Betrayal is set ten years after the nd of the siege Anna the daughter of a dissident writer and Andrei have married and are raising Anna s little brot. A riveting and motionally absorbing portrait of post war Soviet Russia a world of violence and terror where the severest acts of betrayal can come from the most trusted alliesInternationally acclaimed author Helen Dun follows her bestselling novel The Siege with a riveting and motionally absorbing portrait of post war Soviet Russia a world of violence and terror where the severest acts of betrayal can come from the most trusted allies In 1952.

Seuel problem too much of it is looking back She has three main survivors from the arlier book Andrei a young pediatrician Anna his wife and Kolya Anna s much younger brother who lives with them almost as a son I found myself yearning for the chapters involving Andrei because he is someone bursting with moral courage who has very much retained his humanity and he is involved in a very real problem Early in the book he is asked to look into the case of Gorya Volkov son of the feared head of the Leningrad security apparatus The pediatrician strikes up an immediate bond with his patient and Invisible (The Curse of Avalon even to a certainxtent with the father a feature which I greatly liked but when things go wrong he immediately finds himself targeted as a scapegoat All the scenes with Andrei and Volkov are Yummy Supper electrifying but they occupy less than a third of the bookUnfortunately Dun is unable to build similar interest around Anna the protagonist of the previous book She also is a person of integrity but in this novel she is forced into a reactive role keeping the apartment running fending off intrusive neighbors looking after Kolya and hoping to get pregnant While Andrei looks forward by necessity she spends most of the time looking back atvents familiar to those who have read the arlier novel specially the death of her father a dissident writer whose papers remain in her safekeeping Even her work in a day care center whose gung ho director is Deep Listening engaged in a research project on learning outcomes for preschoolers is little than a semi comic interludeOne reviewer criticized The Siege as depending too much on outsidevents as opposed to the moral choices of the characters I did not ntirely agree then but I do here Anna is a moral person but she has few significant choices to make Andrei s choices are courageous ones but they all come arly in the book Halfway through after Evolution, Me Other Freaks of Nature events turn against him he too becomes a mere victim of outside forces the story is no longer what he does but what is done to him Dun describes the atrocious conditions wellnough but no better than many arlier authors A book whose occasional dullness had at least been seasoned with true drama arlier became a real challenge to keep reading well before the Trajan end hide spoiler Very well written and delicately drawn suspenseful andvocative without being over the top in its depictions of Stalin s depravities Tom Rob Smith I m looking at you It s an interesting combination of suspense and historical drama with really thoughtful writing that focuses on the small details than on the big reveals The central love story is compelling and realistic and the other characters are Bunnys Book Club Goes to School economically drawn but memorable and real as well I found the suspense almost painful at points because I cared about these characters I think I would have been a bit at sea as to whoveryone was and why I cared if I hadn t read The Siege this should be The Peculiar Pig explicitly marketed as a seuel And I d love to read another book about this family In her latest novel The Betrayal Helen Dun returns to the Soviet Union and to the city of Leningrad whose history she so powerfullyvoked in her best seller The Siege Now a decade later starvation and bitter cold have been replaced with fear and suspicion as the people of Leningrad do their best to keep their heads down and their lives unremarkable in an Cherry Ingram era of accusations arrests and the midnight knock at the doorAnna and Andrei have survived the siege married and together have brought up Anna s brother Kolya They want their lives to be ordinary but when the son of a senior secret police official is admitted to the hospital where Andrei is a paediatrican Andrei finds himself outmanoeuvred by the politically astute and face to face with a man who has the power to destroy him and his familyHelen Dun svocative portrait of one couple living in the shadow of Stalin conveys both the sense of all pervading menace from neighbours from colleagues from the state and the struggle to remain humane and true in the face of it As the net tightens around Andrei and his life becomes the stuff of nightmares she also tells a compelling and page turning taleHelen Dun is a novelist and short story writer whose many works include A Spell of Winter winner of the Orange Prize and The Siege which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year and the Orange Prize and has sold over 100000 copies. And that of his family is bound to the child's Trapped in an impossible game of life and death and pitted against a power mad father's raging grief Andrei and Anna must avoid the whispers and watchful The Mermaids Shoes eyes of those who will say or do anything to save themselves With The Betrayal Dun returns with a powerful and stirring novel of ordinary people in the grip of a terrible and sinister regime and anvocative tale of a love that will not be silenced.

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I was born in December 1952 in Yorkshire the second of four children My father was the eldest of twelve and this extended family has no doubt had a strong influence on my life as have my own children In a large family you hear a great many stories You also come to understand very early that stories hold uite different meanings for different listeners and can be recast from many viewpoints