Winner of the 2017 Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production
A New York Times Bestseller
A Booklist Editors' Choice Audio
An AudioFile Best Audiobook of the Year
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.
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.
©2016 Gavriel Savit (P)2016 Listening Library
"Allan Corduner's deep voice pairs well with the graceful, intelligent prose in this mesmerizing account.... Corduner's elegant, discreet voicing and measured pacing keep listeners focused on the three main characters in a wrenching coming-of-age story that will appeal to adults as well as thoughtful mature teens." (AudioFile)
Depressingly beautiful in the way the best novels about WWII have got to be. The writing is exquisite and the friendship between Anna and the Swallow Man is endearing and the whole language he teaches her in order to survive is a wonderfully clever metaphor for the horrors he fells Anna is still too young to fully comprehend. Actually, when it comes to the Holocaust, no one is older enough to fully comprehend that horror, but we still need to talk and read about it. The new generations can never be apart from it; everyone needs to be reminded of it on a constant basis in order to prevent it from happening again. Especially important in a time when we are seeing all too familiar speeches gathering sympathetic ears around the world, when Hitler-like figures are rising or trying to rise to power in some nations. It is never enough to read about WWII and the toad language may be a good way to approach young minds and bring them to the right side. To make them forever against not only the war but the idea that any human life is better than other or that any group can ever decide who should live or not.
This is a novel full of surprises, so don't think that it's just another WWII story. There are elements here that are very peculiar, very specific to this setting, to these characters. It is gorgeously written, lyrical and poetical. The audiobook is exquisitely narrated.
I just felt a bit lost at the end but it's probably my fault. I have some theories about the Swallow Man's identity and importance that I like, so that might be enough. I truly recommend this novel.
The ending wasn't an ending - it was like the author just shut off his computer with a "I've done enough" attitude. I prefer to have books with an ending - either good or bad, but an ending
This book's been hyped pretty hard, and I must say for the most part it deserves it. It's a fairy tale told in the Hell of WWII Poland. Allan Corduner's narration absolutely MAKES the book, especially with the voice of the Swallow Man. I really, really enjoyed this, and while initially the end left me saying "Wait. WHAT?!", the more I think about it, the better I like it.
I highly recommend this book. it's kind of a folk tale, exploring the ways humans thrown together bond, lovr and survive., and the grey areas of morality and necessity.
This story held me from the very beginning. It's a most wonderful adventure in the darkest of times. And in no small part it was made all the more wonderful by Allan Corduner's fabulous voice and command of languages.
I was very sorry when it ended. You get very invested in Anna and her Swallow Man. It was tearfully difficult for me to let them go.
The use of WWII as a backdrop is getting a little old ( for me, anyway ) and this well written but rather plotless story isn't really anything new. There are some touching moments, the prose is nice, and the (3) dominant characters are each interesting. Excellent narration. However, there's nothing exceptional, and if you've read " All the Light We Can Not See" this book will be a let down.
The narrator's voice brought all the languages and characters magically to life. The story unexpectedly surprised me again and again. I couldn't believe someone created so fine a story.
Impressive debut novel!! I read several reviews that complained about "no plot" - but I disagree whole-heartedly! There is PLENTY of plot & story here ... You just have to know where to looks or it.
There were some lovely moments, there was some touching prose and the three main characters were engaging.
But, for me, the WWII story is nothing new. It's a very important time in history (we should never forget), but I have read many and will not forget. So, it holds little interest. I had hoped for something with a new perspective, deeper experience.
The "none" ending was very unsatisfying.
The narration was excellent.
As an Audible Editor I listen for a living! British classics, YA novels, speculative fiction, and anything quirky, fascinating, or heart-wrenching.
When Anna’s father (a linguistics professor in Krakow) is taken by the Nazis, Anna is left to fend for herself. Forming a sort of partnership with a man who like her also speaks innumerable languages, Anna and "the Swallow Man" take to the woods, trying to stay under the radar while the world self-destructs. Comparisons have naturally been made to The Book Thief, and with Allan Corduner at the narrative helm it hits many of the same notes, but Gavriel Savit’s gorgeous debut is perhaps a more finely formed thing. Unlike Zusak’s Liesel, Anna is on the run. While most young girls are trying to find themselves, Anna has learned from the Swallow Man that "to be found is to be gone forever". While a stunningly profound meditation on language as both identity and disguise during wartime, Anna and the Swallow Man also perfectly captures the simple poignancy of a child’s vantage point. This is one of my favorite books.
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