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Songbird
     

Songbird

2.6 9
by Walter Zacharius
 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Many within the publishing industry and some without will recognize the author, for he's the near legendary founder of numerous houses and imprints including Kensington, Zebra and Arabesque-and at age 80, is publishing his first novel. But it's what's between the covers that counts, and Zacharius has written a romantic tale of a young Jewish woman's struggle with the Nazis that will entrance many readers. The novel divides into three sections, following, respectively, the destruction of the life of privileged young Polish Jew Mia Levy as the Nazis invade Poland and, eventually, send her family to Treblinka, even as she takes refuge with the Resistance and escapes to America; Mia's sojourn in Brooklyn, where she falls in love with a young musician, then is recruited by American military intelligence; and her return as a spy to Europe, where she joins a brothel catering to high-ranking Nazis and takes her revenge. The longest, strongest section is the first, distinguished by Zacharius's meticulous recreation of Polish Jewish life under early Nazi occupation-scenes set within Jewish ghettos are harrowing and unforgettable. The American sequence offers welcome respite from the previous horrors. The final section occasionally slides into luridness, as Mia works as a dominatrix binding and whipping Nazis, but here and throughout, the narrative will sweep readers along with its large passions and clever plotting; also worthy is the author's ability to narrate convincingly from the POV of a young woman. This is one of this year's more unusual and captivating debut novels. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal - Library Journal
A debut novel by an 80-year-old man writing as a young girl? Sounds implausible, but Zacharius, founder and CEO of Kensington Publishing, manages to pull it off somewhat. The story revolves around Mia Levy, a musically talented, middle-class Jewish girl whose life is changed forever by World War II. Separated from her parents and rebellious brother, Mia must learn to rely on herself in order to survive. She becomes, among other things, an unwilling wife, a prostitute whose tools of the trade include whips and chains (inflicted with hatred on high-ranking German soldiers), and a spy for the Allies. One drawback is the stilted language. Zacharius also isn't very successful at writing about teenage angst, but he improves when the central character becomes an adult. This book won't appeal to everyone, but readers who enjoy spy thrillers and/or historical thrillers will like it. Recommended for all public libraries. Marika Zemke, West Bloomfield Twp. P.L., MI Short stories Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The perils and wiles of a Jewish girl who escapes from Poland during WWII and travels to France to fight with the Resistance. Zacharius (founder and CEO of Kensington Publishing) debuts with this story of Marisa ("Mia") Levy, who grows up in a well-to-do family in Lodz, where her father runs a successful medical practice. Cultivated but provincial, the Levys have great hopes for Mia, a talented pianist, and send her to study in Paris. The war, unfortunately, puts an end to just about everyone's ambitions-especially for Jews living under Nazi occupation. Mia's father sizes up the situation right away: The Ghetto of Lodz (administered by the notorious Jewish collaborator Chaim Rumkowski) has been set up to bleed the Jews slowly of all their property before dispatching them to Auschwitz as quietly as possible. He tries to short-circuit the process by bribing an official for safe passage out of the country but is betrayed and ends up in the camps after all. Mia managedsto escape and get to Warsaw, where she joins an underground cell of Jewish partisans and is safely smuggled out of the occupied territories, first to Switzerland and later to the US. While staying with relatives in Brooklyn, Mia meets and falls in love with Vinnie Sforza, a big band clarinetist. She also makes contact with a secret branch of US Army Intelligence and provides them with information about the concentration camps and resistance movements in Europe. After America enters the war, Mia joins a branch of the special services that's been set up to smuggle agents into France. Now, after all her trouble getting out, Mia is to return-but as an avenger rather than a victim this time. Since her parents are still alive inAuschwitz, her mission may become a rescue as well. Standard Holocaust potboiler, nicely narrated but nothing special.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743482110
Publisher:
Atria Books
Publication date:
09/14/2004
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

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Songbird 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
bonita2425 More than 1 year ago
Ok.. the beginning was really good and dramatic and kept me turning every page, which was called book 1. But closer to the end it really just got boring and unrealistic to me. It was a very sad ending..which didn't make me want to read anymore of his books. I felt like the turn of events didn't make a good ending. Toward the end there was a lot of sensuality in the book..which didn't make it end any better.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This deplorable book isn't worthy to sit on library shelves. This book seemed to be a love offering to lust and language cravers,NOT to depict a desperate jewish girl and her family. I guess thats the natural outcome of deranged old coots writing about young girls. Avoid it like the plague!
Guest More than 1 year ago
At one point, I was not sure if I saw the movie or if I read the book. It is a great story although sad. I really loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This might be a good novel if you are about 13 years old otherwise it is improbable, filled with silly coincidence and simply not thought provoking in anyway. The main character is one dimensional and is completely unsympathetic. Not recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was an interesting read.But for a girl living during the holocaust,there was little emotion.If you are a serious reader I don't reccomend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I felt this book definitely dealt with an interesting subject and I'm a big fan of history. I thought he skipped around too much and was shallow writing as to being believable.