By Gavriel Savit
Alfred A. Knopf, 2016, 232 pages, Young Adult Fiction
In 1939, Seven year-old Anna and her linguist father live in Krakow, Poland. When all of the academics in the town are rounded up by the Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp, Anna suddenly finds herself alone in the world. Then she meets the Swallow Man; an enigmatic gentleman who can speak to birds. As the war goes on, Anna and the Swallow Man travel from town to town, trying to evade the notice of German and Russian soldiers and also trying to stay alive.
This book is a beautifully written gem! Although this is historical fiction, I consider it to be more literary fiction. Emphasis is placed on beautiful sentence structure and on the way Anna grows as a person, and much less emphasis is placed on times and dates and portraying events in a way that’s historically accurate. Combine this with the excellent narration of Alan Corduner in the audiobook format, and I really didn’t want this book to end.
This book would be a great book for book clubs to read, since the book has an open ending. A good discussion can be fostered with questions about who the Swallow Man is, and what really happened at the end. This book is highly recommend for those who enjoyed books like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and The Book Thief.