The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Painted Bird

The Painted Bird

4.2 24
by Jerzy Kosinski
     
 

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Originally published in 1965, The Painted Bird established Jerzy Kosinski as a major literary figure. Kosinski's story follows a dark-haired, olive-skinned boy, abandoned by his parents during World War II, as he wanders alone from one village to another, sometimes hounded and tortured, only rarely sheltered and cared for. Through the juxtaposition of adolescence

Overview

Originally published in 1965, The Painted Bird established Jerzy Kosinski as a major literary figure. Kosinski's story follows a dark-haired, olive-skinned boy, abandoned by his parents during World War II, as he wanders alone from one village to another, sometimes hounded and tortured, only rarely sheltered and cared for. Through the juxtaposition of adolescence and the most brutal of adult experiences, Kosinski sums up a Bosch-like world of harrowing excess where senseless violence and untempered hatred are the norm. Through sparse prose and vivid imagery, Kosinski's novel is a story of mythic proportion, even more relevant to today's society than it was upon its original publication.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“One of the best. . . . Written with deep sincerity and sensitivity.”—Elie Wiesel, The New York Times Book Review

“A powerful blow on the mind because it is so carefully kept within the margins of probability and fact.”—Arthur Miller

“Of all the remarkable fiction that emerged from World War II, nothing stands higher than Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird. A magnificent work of art, and a celebration of the individual will. No one who reads it will be unmoved by it. The Painted Bird enriches our literature and our lives.”—Jonathan Yardley, The Miami Herald

“Extraordinary . . . literally staggering . . . one of the most powerful books I have ever read.”—Richard Kluger, Harper’s Magazine

Elie Wiesel
"One of the best... Written with deep sincerity and sensitivity." -- The New York Times Book Review
Richard Kluger
"Extraordinary...literally staggering...one of the most powerful books I have ever read." -- Harper's Magazine
Jonathan Yardley
"Of all the remarkable fiction that emerged from World War II, nothing stands higher than Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird. A magnificent work of art, and a celebration of the individual will. No one who reads it will forget it; no one who reads it will be unmoved by it. ThePainted Bird enriches our literature andour lives." -- The Miami Herald

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802134226
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
08/28/1995
Series:
Kosinski, Jerzy
Pages:
234
Sales rank:
154,540
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)
Lexile:
980L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
One of the best. . . . Written with deep sincerity and sensitivity.”—Elie Wiesel, The New York Times Book Review

“A powerful blow on the mind because it is so carefully kept within the margins of probability and fact.”—Arthur Miller

“Of all the remarkable fiction that emerged from World War II, nothing stands higher than Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird. A magnificent work of art, and a celebration of the individual will. No one who reads it will be unmoved by it. The Painted Bird enriches our literature and our lives.”—Jonathan Yardley, The Miami Herald

“Extraordinary . . . literally staggering . . . one of the most powerful books I have ever read.”—Richard Kluger, Harper’s Magazine

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The Painted Bird 4.2 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 24 reviews.
Karl-Bendt More than 1 year ago
A highly controversial novel, the opinions about Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird range from gushing reviews of its scathing commentary to outbursts dubbing Kosinski a Holocaust Profiteer. The moderate approach to the book seems to be that it is indeed a work of fiction; the book never claims to represent real atrocities - but nevertheless a great story. The story of a young boy who becomes separated from his parents in the midst of World War II, he wanders around Eastern Europe. He is taken in by a number of people, all of whom assume him to be a Gypsy or a Jew treat him with suspicion and fear. Kosinski's story is all about the dangers of xenophobia, the fear of unknown things -when we forget the injustices of World War II; we are in danger of repeating them. His aim is to make the reader empathize with the awful conditions and treatment that the boy faces. Kosinski has purposefully used a young boy to show the psychological transformation that comes with the corrupting influence of war. The main theme of the book is that humans are inherently predisposed to violence and evil and that it should be avoided at all costs. In fact, the title of the book is drawn from this idea. One of the characters, when bored or upset, goes out and captures a bird and paints it. When the bird tries to join up with its flock, it is torn at until it falls from the sky, taken as an intruder. All in all, The Painted Bird is a wonderfully crafted masterpiece, but cannot be forgotten as a work of fiction. The story it portrays is indeed harrowing, but its utilization of hyperbole as the method of delivery cannot be forgotten. The ability to suspend your disbelief will come in handy while reading this, but be prepared for a dark and macabre journey.
PCakes23 More than 1 year ago
The "Painted Bird" is one of the most mind boggling books I have ever read. The book is about a young jewish boy whom is seperated from his parents during the begining of the holocaust. Kosinski's writing style really disturbed me making me feel at a loss for words. The book looks at a rough time and some of those people that were effected by it in different ways. He goes in to great detail. Sometimes to much detail. Without this though the book would not be as effective as it is. Being a jewish person myself you hear about what happened, but it nevers seems as horrible as Kosinski portrays it. When a person hears about something that sound so terrible we tend to turn away because we don't believe it. Most people if not everyone is guilty of this at one time or another. Kosinski just throws it in your face not allowing you to turn away.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Made me thinking a lot about it after done reading. Must read for all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though this book was very odd, I loved it. The Painted Bird was so beautiful and darkly written, I couldn't put it down. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Marla-Singer More than 1 year ago
I am very picky about the books that I like and although I read this book a year ago it still sticks out in my mind as one of the best. Very gruesome at some parts but really depicts the kids of struggle the young boy had to go through by constantly moving around and meeting different kinds of people.
ChicagoRoots More than 1 year ago
Read this years ago in college, and recently revisited it. Horrifying (yet believable) account of Jewish boy in WWII Poland countryside. Sent out of a city to avoid the Nazis, he is driven from one village to another. constantly brutalized and ultimately brutal himself. Liberated and befriended by Russian soldiers, he is reunited finally with his parents, but not rehabilitated. Banned in Poland for its barbaric portrayal of the peasants. Kosinski's best work IMHO.
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UnfoldsFascination More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book very much. The astonishing choice of descriptive words that Kosinski choose to use and put together definitely scared and charmed me when I was reading this book at the mere age of 16. It was a wonderful experience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have finished this book not to long ago and I still have the sadness with me of what he went through. There are so many emotions to this book and it makes me realize what horror not only the adults went through but also the children. I really liked how truthful it was and recommend it to anyone who is looking for an eye opener about WWII
Guest More than 1 year ago
i read this book and i have to be honest it made me feel really bad and so many other feelings at the same time. it made me realize what it was like to be a jew or a gypsie during World War II. The things this child expierenced during his journies and stays at different villages were so horrifically real and disturbing, that it made me feel very different. The way the author explains his expierences are like nothing i have ever read before. Some of the events in this book left me speechless. this book has to be the craziest book i have ever read. i couldnt even imagine what it would be like to live in a time like this were you have to hide from certain people and when they do find you, you know that what they are going to do to you is going to be painful. on the other hand i really enjoyed this book because on how it went into details about these crazy sistuations and how the author explained them in such great detail.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A young boy discovers that he doesn't need to be heard through his voice because others often hear what they are only capable of. The power within will not escape through the fences and can not be trapped by any means. Life uncovers its mysteries over time which gives him ample opportunities for self discovery. A great book to read into Kosinski's mind and to examine your own philosophies.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Painted Bird takes you through a journey of WWII that not many people have experienced. It shows the the cold, harsh fact of the disgusting and mallicious ways and treatment of women and just people in general during the war. It takes you there makes it personal and it sticks with you. I mean it is just not a book that goes away. Not with it's reality or truthful efforts pictured in the author's writing. I think everyone, EVERYONE (when they are old enough and ready to read cruel and inhuman things) should read this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book tells the story of a little boy who was abandoned and ends up on his own. As the book progresses, he struggles more and more to fit in. He faces many hardships such as prejudice and abuse. Jerzy Kosinski portrays Eastern Europe and its cultures perfectly throughout the book. As time passes and the boy meets new people, he begins to mature and become even more independent. You will be amazed how much he has changed and in what way after the book is finished. It has just enough adventure and new twists to keep the reader interested as we learn of culture overseas during WW II. I would recommend this book to age 14 and older. Even though the main character is a young boy, this book is not suitable for children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book because of its poignant display of the brutality involved during a historical event such as WW II. A brutality that does not forgive such innocent times as childhood. Every chapter of this book is a new adventure, and the reader does not know, nor can imagine that it can only get worse. This continuing feeling of doom and depression is not overdone or unrealistic, it is real, and expected during such a hard period which has been often glorified by other books and Hollywood.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Painted Bird' by Jerzy Kosinski is a book everyone should read. It takes you into WW II through civilian eyes, showing you the lifestyles, torture, and devastation in which these people endured. The hero in the book is a little boy who is abandoned by his parents in the countryside of Eastern Europe and through many trials and tribulations, survives many acts of brutality and cruelity. 'The Painted Bird' though savagely hideous at times, is well worth the read. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Someone recommended this book and I bought it for my Nook. This is my opinion and others may feel differently. It was nothing like I expected. Horrible. I only read it because I spent the money on it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would describe this book is violent and sad. it's focus is on an orphaned boy during the Nazi concentration camp period. his wanderings take him from the village to village with all the people suspicious of him because of his dark hair and dark eyes. eventually he always finds somebody that will take him in, but something violent always happens that makes him run from the village. this pattern became so mundane I don't even think that I finished the book which is too bad because it was highly recommended and I was very excited to read it.