Anna and the Swallow Man
Author : Gavriel Savit
Publisher : Knopf Books for Young Readers (January 26, 2016)
Genre : Literature & Fiction
New York Times Bestseller
“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.
Kraków, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Łania 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.
From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—In 1939 Krakow, seven-year-old Anna realizes her linguist father is not coming back from a meeting of university professors who have been summoned by the Gestapo. She can speak many languages and converse with adults, and she’s able to adapt to her surroundings as Anja, Khannaleh, Anke, or whichever persona she chooses. Her father’s friend, Herr Doktor Fuchsmann, becomes fearful about hiding her, so she takes to the streets, following a tall man with a doctor’s bag who talks to birds. The Swallow Man’s name is never learned, but the pair wander the countryside together for four years, in a story that gradually becomes less plot-based and more allegorical. There is plenty of bird imagery, suggesting the Swallow Man might be a trickster, as he swoops, nests, and eats little but dried bread. Yet there are also hints he has run from some nefarious involvement in the war and no longer wants to be “an instrument of death.” Spare dialogue and elegant prose are filled with subtleties, including the language Swallow Man and Anna agree to use to keep her safe, called the “Road.” Though Anna is a child at the beginning, she ages over the course of this novel, which gets darker and more violent toward the end. When Reb Hirschl, a burly and friendly Jewish man they meet in the woods, is killed and an unscrupulous doctor asks Anna to strip in exchange for medicine, it is a loss of innocence the author compares to hatching from the egg so that she will fly on her own. VERDICT More interpretive than literal, the story will generate discussion among YA readers.—Vicki Reutter, State University of New York at Cortland
“Chilling yet tender.” —People Magazine
“Savit’s economical prose beautifully captures a child’s loss of innocence and the spiritual challenges that emerge when a safe world suddenly becomes threatening.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“The third-person narrative—lyrical, fluid, with a pervasive shadow of menace—lends a folkloric feel to a graceful story steeped in history, magic, myth, and archetype; comparisons to The Book Thief are apt.” —The Horn Book, Starred Review
“Savit’s novel, with its wise, philosophical narrator, has the classic feel and elegant, precise language of a book that’s been around forever.” —Shelf Awareness, Starred Review
“[A] quiet exploration of love and its limits.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Starred Review
“Artful, original, insightful.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A moving, thought-provoking story about coming-of-age in the midst of trauma.” —Booklist
“The Book Thief. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Any book compared to both of these is in my eyes sure to have an exciting plot, be a fantastic eye opener, and have loveable characters. Anna and the Swallow Man did not disappoint. Just go and read it—it is impossible not to love.” —The Guardian
“The story is powerful enough to resonate with all ages….Savit’s novel, though a quick read, is a powerful one. And just like the child is follows, it has a deeper poignancy masked by its seemingly simple surface.” —Mashable
“Written like a love song for language — heartbreaking and entrancing and filled with characters whose survival is intimately, sometimes tragically, tied to their love of words.” —Bustle
Langue : English
File size : 1 Mo
Format : pdf