Finally, I drew a spade (still waiting on clubs!) and this leads me to my first story in Tamas Dobozy’s Siege 13 book, “The Encirclement”. Deal Me In is sponsored by Jay at Bibliophilopolis. You can find the general guidelines and my list for this year from this post.
A bit about the book itself: “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.”
“The Encirclement” is a bit “longer” than my other stories of late, 20 pages, and tells the story of Professor Teleki and his nemesis, Sandor. Professor Teleki travels the world speaking to audiences about his experiences fighting during the Siege of Budapest which found the Russians surrounding the German and Hungarian forces at the end of World War II. However, at each speaking engagement, a blind man name Sandor shows up and is constantly interrupting the lectures to tell tales of Teleki and what Sandor describes as Teleki’s cowardly actions during the siege. Teleki is drawn into arguments with Sandor during each engagement and is constantly telling Sandor “That’s not what happened”!
This goes on for many months and Teleki grows frustrated and his agent is no help, actually encouraging the belligerent manner in which Sandor accost Teleki because he thinks it is a great money-maker. The audience thinks the interaction is highly entertaining so as time and events go on, the crowds grow to watch this “battle” between Teleki and Sandor. Having enough, Teleki decides to quit and just give up and when he does that, he has an epiphany of sorts about what is really going on with Sandor.
This was a touching story and I flew through it because I wanted to know so badly how Sandor knew Teleki and if Sandor’s account of Teleki was true. Dobozy does an excellent job of not only creating a tense situation but of also describing graphically various battles during the siege as part of the flashbacks. I think he also tied up the story nicely so I felt satisfied with the how it ended.
Have you read anything by Dobozy? What are your thoughts?