"In past interviews, Dobozy has indicated that his writing has often been preoccupied with the negative relationship between immigrants and place — the sense of not belonging to either new or old homeland or the difficulties which arise from an inability to adapt sufficiently. While, in Siege 13, he continues to broadly reference the Hungarian immigrant experience as a whole, the focus can be more specifically identified as the burden of survival.
We are, perhaps, in our stories, more accustomed to celebrating survival, a happy point at which, as David Bezmozgis, another powerful new teller of immigrant tales has noted in his book The Free World, any self-respecting fairytale ends, with the assumption of a golden “afterwards.” But, as many of the characters in Dobozy’s stories and thoughtful readers come to understand, survival should not be confused with triumph. The siege of Budapest occupies a well-earned place on a short list of the extremes of human experience. Everyone involved was wounded. Some died of these wounds at the time while others survived to carry the repercussions forward. The great challenge for survivors was to find a workable new approach to existence in light of their past experience. As Benedek Gorbe, a character in the opening story, “The Atlas of B. Gorbe,” observes,
It happened. It was bad. And afterwards?"