Anna and the Swallow Man (Paperback)Gavriel Savit (author)
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Instead of passing on to his daughter one particular language that would define her, Anna’s father gave her the wide spectrum of tongues that he knew, and said, “Choose amongst them. Make something new for yourself.”
Krakow, 1939, is no place to grow up.
There are a million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. And Anna Lania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father and suddenly, she's alone.
Then she meets the Swallow Man.
He is a mystery, strange and tall. And like Anna's missing 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.
Over the course of their travels together, Anna and the Swallow Man will dodge bombs, tame soldiers, and even, despite their better judgement, make a friend. But in a world gone mad, everything can prove dangerous...
Striking a chord with Waterstones’ booksellers who have described it as heartbreaking, lyrical and deeply evocative, Anna and the Swallow Man is a stunning, literary, and wholly original debut novel that tells a new WW2 story.
‘There’s a part of being a child (maybe the most important part) that too many people get rid of as they go along in the world, and that’s the part that formulates and asks the questions. In devising the character of the Swallow Man, it became clear to me that he was a man of a very particular sort of magic – the subtle, difficult-to-pin-down sort – and Anna is, perhaps, in distilled human form, the part of each kid that notices that the man without the umbrella in the middle of the sidewalk is somehow bone dry.’ – Gavriel Savit
‘The lesson here, and in the novel’s conclusion, is surely not that beauty and faith and love are illusory, or even that they are fleeting. It is that they take hard work to maintain, and require, as often as not, personal sacrifice.’ – The New York Times
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 181 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 16 mm
A small wonder, and for once a book worthy of the hype * Alex O'Connell, The Times *
The breakout WWII drama . . . is causing quite the stir amongst both adults and the pre-teens it's aimed at * Stylist - 'Your Essential 2016 Reading List' *
Tense, moving, original and skilled, this phenomenal debut will seize sophisticated readers * Nicolette Jones, Sunday Times - Children's Book of the Week *
It sometimes seems there can be no stories left to tell about the anguish of Nazi-occupied countries in 1939-45 but the debut novel by Gavriel Savit makes the territory new * Observer *
A beautifully haunting and thought-provoking story of friendship that lingers long after the last page * Ruta Sepetys *
A bold first novel that promises more from the undoubtedly talented Savit * Guardian *
A beautifully written debut * Sunday Express *
This wonderfully original concept, enigmatic in style yet grounded in brutal reality, is written with deceptive power and grace * Daily Mail *
A stark and beautifully written tale that will leave you feeling unsettled yet enthralled * Woman Magazine *
Savit's young adult novel reveals the power and danger of language, the necessity for deceit when humanity is under siege and . . . the hope that we will all find a guardian when we most need it * Sainsbury's Magazine *
Savit brilliantly dramatizes the adventures of survival . . . this book has an enticing sense of fable * Daily Telegraph *
Savit's story is aimed at anyone who will listen. A 10-year-old may identify with Anna. A teenage reader will absorb the deftness and sophistication of the telling. An adult will find his or her expectations challenged * New York Times *
There's much for adults to love about Gavriel Savit's beautiful tale * Sun, Fabulous Magazine *
The book that brings magic to the 20th century's darkest hour * Mashable *
Savit captures the moods, fears and delightful conversation of this odd couple on their implausible odyssey. It's a touching tale, both sad and sweet * Mail on Sunday, EVENT magazine - Best New Fiction *
An astonishingly accomplished debut about war, survival and humanity . . . this is very much in the territory of The Book Thief and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas with all the potential that such a comparison suggests * Fiona Noble, The Bookseller - One to Watch *
[a] complex graceful book * Financial Times *
Exquisite * Irish Independent *
Exquisite debut novel * Wall Street Journal *
Like the characters in his debut novel, author Gavriel Savit has harnessed the power of language. He's a talented wordsmith, wielding words and sentences with a precision that allows them to wriggle deep into this reader's heart, leaving me both enchanted and brokenhearted * Sara Grochowski, Publishers Weekly *
One of those all ages and no age stories . . . told by a genuine wordsmith . . . And it's a story of generosity in the worst of times. Of friendship and loyalty and yes, of love despite all the horror. We won't forget how it felt to read it. Ever * Jill Murphy, The Bookbag *
A beautiful and stunning read . . . It creeps slowly into your heart just like Morris Gleitzman'sOnce, and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas did * Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books *
Such an important, painful, beautiful, hopeful read * Bloggers Heart Books *
A harsh tale of innocence lost, yet touched with magic * Herald *
This is cleverly done and beautifully written tale of loss, hope, survival and trust * Kate Ormand *
Savit spins a dark and heart-breaking tale of history and fable seen through the eyes of a child. A thought-provoking read, great for book clubs * South Wales Evening Post, Children's Book of the Week *
A complex, gruelling trip through the midnight of the last century * Financial Times - Summer Reading 2016 *
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“Anna and the Swallow Man”
A nice, touching story. Worth a read, but beware some occasional adult language and themes. Not recommend for children in my opinion. As an adult/teenage read, however, an interesting story with lots of themes with... More
“Interesting perspectives on war”
It is 1939 in Krakow. When Anna’s father leaves home and doesn’t return, Anna seeks out someone else who can guide her through the war-ravaged country and into safer territory. She quickly realises that person will be... More
“Elegantly written story”
The novel is set in occupied Poland during the Second World War. It introduces us to Anna whose father has disappeared. Anna is left all alone in the world and meets a stranger called the Swallow Man, who teaches... More
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