Thursday, February 25, 2016

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit Review


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.

My Review

Simply Beautiful....

Every language is beautiful, as Anna has been taught by her father, she is wise beyond her years in that aspect.

When Anna was left alone as the war invades Poland, she learns a new language...the Language of the road, from a man with little emotion, but full of knowledge and survival...the Swallow Man.  He cares for her, provides for her, and teaches her skills of survival while on the run from those who would harm her.

Written in a setting and time of pure human cruelty, this story was simply beautiful.  As I traveled with Anna and the Swallow Man, I suffered along with Anna's confusion, felt the harsh elements, and anguished through their hunger.

Even though the Swallow Man was not an affectionate man, 
you could feel the love he had for Anna.  His final show of 
love at the end was completely heart breaking.

This book is a must read.  The mystery revolving around the Swallow Man is captivating.  The writing Mesmerizing. 

About the Author

After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in Musical Theatre, Gavriel Savit moved to New York to launch his performing career with shows at places like the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut, City Center’s Encores! series, and the Westside Theatre, Off-Broadway (here’s a full theatrical resume that gives a more complete listing).

Like many actors, Gavriel also had some unstructured time, which he spent reading: Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, Adam Levin’s The Instructions, Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and the stories of Jorge Luis Borges, amongst others.

He found it all terribly inspiring.

Gavriel had an idea and he had a computer, so he sat down and he started to write. His first novel, Anna and the Swallow Man is due out from Knopf’s Books for Young Readers division in the Spring of 2016.

Gavriel continues to perform in the theatre, and he’s got a few different writing projects he’s working on, too. He won’t tell you about them, even if you ask, but if you like ambiguity, you can check out the works-in-progress section of his website for some weird, tantalizing flavor.

Check out Gavriel HERE

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