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Anna and the Swallow Man
by Gavriel Savit


Overview - A New York Times Bestseller
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year
A Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
Winner of the Indies Choice Book Award
Winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award


"Exquisite." -- The Wall Street Journal

"This is masterly storytelling." -- The New York Times Book Review

A stunning, beautiful, and ambitious debut novel set in Poland during the Second World War perfect for readers of All the Light We Cannot See and The Book Thief.  Read more...


 
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More About Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
 
 
 
Overview
A New York Times Bestseller
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year
A Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
Winner of the Indies Choice Book Award
Winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award


"Exquisite." --The Wall Street Journal

"This is masterly storytelling." --The New York Times Book Review

A stunning, beautiful, and ambitious debut novel set in Poland during the Second World War perfect for readers of All the Light We Cannot See and The Book Thief.

Krakow, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Lania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father, a linguistics professor, during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. She's alone.

And then Anna meets the Swallow Man. He is a mystery, strange and tall, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. And when the soldiers in the streets look at him, they see what he wants them to see.

The Swallow Man is not Anna's father--she knows that very well--but she also knows that, like her father, he's in danger of being taken, and like her father, he has a gift for languages: Polish, Russian, German, Yiddish, even Bird. When he summons a bright, beautiful swallow down to his hand to stop her from crying, Anna is entranced. She follows him into the wilderness.

Over the course of their travels together, Anna and the Swallow Man will dodge bombs, tame soldiers, and even, despite their better judgment, make a friend. But in a world gone mad, everything can prove dangerous. Even the Swallow Man.

Destined to become a classic, Gavriel Savit's stunning debut reveals life's hardest lessons while celebrating its miraculous possibilities.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780553513349
  • ISBN-10: 0553513346
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • Publish Date: January 2016
  • Page Count: 240
  • Reading Level: Ages 12-UP
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.7 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Young Adult Fiction > Historical - Holocaust

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-11-02
  • Reviewer: Staff

Like Life Is Beautiful and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, this deeply moving debut novel, set in Poland and Germany during WWII, casts naïveté against the cruel backdrop of inhumanity. Late one autumn morning, seven-year-old Anna is put under the care of a pharmacist. Her father is supposed to retrieve her in a few hours, but he never returns. Cast from her caretakers shop, Anna has nowhere to turn until she falls in with a reluctant stranger, a tall, reticent man. Thus begins a years-long journey through the woods and beyond that draws Anna closer and closer to the strange man, who communicates with birds and speaks in metaphors (Everything he saideven, perhaps especially, the things he left outseemed to carry the reliable weight of truth). In his quiet yet firm manner, the Swallow Man teaches Anna lessons of survival, some of which challenge her instincts to be honest and compassionate. Savits economical prose beautifully captures a childs loss of innocence and the spiritual challenges that emerge when a safe world suddenly becomes threatening. The subject matter and gritty imagery may be too intense for some younger readers, but those knowledgeable of wartime atrocities will recognize the profundity of the bond of trust built between two strangers who become increasingly dependent on each other. Ages 12up. Agent: Catherine Drayton, Inkwell Management. (Jan.)

 
BookPage Reviews

An unlikely caretaker and ally

At the beginning of the German invasion of Poland during World War II, a young girl matures and crafts a life out of the madness of war.

Seven-year-old Anna and her father, a professor, maintain a pleasant routine in the city of Kraków. One day, Anna’s father leaves her in the care of a friend while he attends a mandatory university meeting, but her father never returns. When the friend subsequently abandons Anna, she falls under the authoritative scrutiny of the Swallow Man, a tall, very thin, rather scary man who has the ability to communicate with birds.

Anna decides to place her trust and her life in the Swallow Man’s hands. Her instincts serve her well, as he keeps Anna safe for several years, teaching her to survive in the wilderness. They walk endlessly through forests, avoiding towns and people, even at times removing items from dead soldiers in order to survive.

Gavriel Savit’s debut novel doesn’t avoid the hard topics as it addresses the extermination of Jews and lays bare the devastating effects of war. However, all is not grim once the Swallow Man allows a cheerful young man to join them. This newcomer adds a semblance of normalcy to a world strafed by war, and the ending sees Anna heading toward a bright future.

 

This article was originally published in the February 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews