Book Review: Anna and the Swallow Man

Anna and the Swallow Man
Savit, Gavriel
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

Oh MY GOSH this book was incredible!! It reminded me a lot of the Boy in Striped Pajamas, because it's told innocently from the perspective of a child in WWII. It was heartbreaking. Few books make me cry, but I was on the verge of tears in this book. The characters had depth and complexity, they weren't 2d with one personality. They were like real people-- irrational, scared, kind, sly. I loved it so much, you won't understand until you read it.
So when Anna's Jewish father is killed when the Nazi's invade Poland, she finds herself in the care of the Swallow Man-- dubbed so because he reminds her of Soloman, but it wouldn't be wise to call him that in the time of WWII.
He insists on keeping up the pretense that they are father and daughter, because he is coping with the premature death of his daughter, who is around Anna'a age (7 years, I think). They travel across Europe on foot, with seemingly no predetermined destination. The Swallow Man says that keeping still makes it easier to be found, and one should never be found. It is better to be lost than to be found in times of war, he says. So the Swallow Man instills wisdom and new ideas into Anna, and teaches her how to survive by talking the language of Road, which is essentially not telling the whole truth, or maybe sprinkling in some truth to a big lie, or just convincingly lying to get what you want. So they pass checkpoints, borders, and strangers, talking Road and surviving. Then they find a Jew, who is used to horrors, but ignorant on how to avoid them. He entertains Anna with Jewish prayers and songs while they walk. The end leaves a lot to want, it was heart-wrenching and sad, but I won't give it away (you're welcome).
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: 
Jordan T.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.