This is an effective tale of psychological horror from the Siege of Leningrad. It is a tale of survival, and things people will do to ensure they survive through the worst horrors that humans are capable of inflicting on each other; those that arise from mass destruction for political ends.
The scene-setting feels right, and the characters ring true. It’s not a difficult subject to cover – plenty has been written and recorded about the 900-day siege – but it would be very easy to get wrong. Joyce does not get much – if anything – wrong.