Although some of the scenes were very grotesque the author kept the story human, with dry, even morbid humour. The suffering of the people of St. Petersburg during the Nazi siege is a depressing story which the book definitely brings to life. It tells the story of starvation and what initiative the people of this particular city develop in order to survive. The main characters are really fascinatingly descriptive. They are totally opposite and yet the story would not be as vibrant without either of them. I found myself seriously contemplating how I myself would have endured such torment; how I would have reacted in certain situations so that I must admit it is a book that should be read, with a grain of salt. It is a book that leaves a taste in your mouth and sends a shiver through your body.