The Painted Bird

The Painted Bird

Book - 1983
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Baker & Taylor
When the war separates a youth from his parents he begins a terrible odyssey of suffering as he wanders from village to village

Publisher: New York : Modern Library, 1983, c1965
Edition: 2nd Modern Library ed
ISBN: 9780394604336
Branch Call Number: FICTION KOSINSKI
Characteristics: 234 p. ; 20 cm


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Dec 08, 2018

This is a graphic, but fictional account of a boy who was fostered in an Eastern European country-side. Take a look at the history of this novel before reading it. It has been proven to be fictional, as well as plagiarized from Polish authors. Knowing this, it painted my whole view of the events in the novel.

Jan 09, 2016

Both an allegorical and literal look at the violence and abandonment inherent during war. Very graphic and not for all. The author has a spartan prose and the pace is very quick. Worth reading if you are interested.

May 12, 2015

I was disappointed in this novel. The chronicle of torture, dismemberment, kinky sex, death and escape resemble a teen boy's fantasies more than anything else. The writing is smooth, but uninspired and uninspiring.

Mar 13, 2015

Jerzy Kosinski is nearly as interesting as a man as he is as a writer. Unfortunately he suicided.

Sean Lapointe Jan 25, 2013

A compelling story of a young boy who roams from village to village in WWII. Despite witnessing disturbing and depraved acts at every turn, many of which were directed towards him, he never gives up and tries to find meaning behind it all.

Jul 18, 2012

This controversial book by a controversial author is an unrelenting and very disturbing chronicle of ignorance and cruelty. I have a high tolerance for depressing and disturbing material, but this exceeded my personal threshold, in part because the stream of violence and barbarity was so constant that it lent an air of unreality to the book, and eventually left the reader numb. This may be a classic, but I think it is overhyped.

Oct 26, 2010

A very disturbing, violent story.


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Dec 29, 2015

The Painted Bird is a controversial 1965 novel by Jerzy Kosinski which describes World War II as seen by a boy, considered a "Gypsy or Jewish stray," wandering about small towns scattered around Eastern Europe. The story was originally introduced by Kosiński to Houghton Mifflin as autobiographical. It was only upon its publication that he quietly refrained from making such claims any further. Assumed by reviewers to be a memoir of a Jewish survivor and witness to the Holocaust telling the supposed true story of his futile search for his deported family, the book received enthusiastic reviews. However, within two decades it was discovered that the story was not only fictional[2] but also plagiarized from popular books written in the Polish language, unknown to English readers. In a series of articles in newspapers and books which followed, it was revealed that Kosiński engaged in willful mystification in order to corroborate the claim of being separated from his family, and that he thus did not share any of the boy's experiences.


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