Friday, September 8, 2017

716#Love Note ~ [Book Review] Anna and the The Swallow Man

I took almost two months without reading any books because I wanted to catch up on some Korean dramas, movies and new anime. Anna and the Swallow Man is my first book in September 2017 and I enjoyed it so much. I bought this book during my trip to Kuala Lumpur early August. It costed me RM10 since I bought it from SunMag at eCurve. SunMag is one of my favourite used bookstores.

Anna and the Swallow Man tells the story of a 7 year old girl during the beginning of World War II. It's been ages since my last read which centered around any war. Unlike The Storyteller which centers around World War II and The Girl You Left Behind which focuses on World War I, Anna and the Swallow Man didn't depress me with the war context. 

Title: Anna and the Swallow Man
Writer: Gavriel Savit
Published by: Bodley Head
Pages: 240
Anna and the Swallow Man is a stunning, literary, and wholly original debut novel that tells a new WW2 story. Kraków, 1939, is no place to grow up. There are a million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. And Anna Lania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father and suddenly, she’s alone. Then she meets the Swallow Man. He is a mystery, strange and tall. And like Anna's missing 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. 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 . . . 

This story starts when Anna Lania being left by his father to one of his friends. Anna's father is a professor and speaks several languages effortlessly, which Anna learns too. Little does Anna know that her father has been escorted to a concentration camp which involves a group of academicians. Professor Lania leaves Anna to Herr Doktor Fuschmann, a German man who owns a pharmacy in their city. The pharmacist refuses to bring Anna to his home and ushers her out when she comes again after spending a night without her father. I believe his new behaviour is due to some German soldiers in the city. Even though Anna's origin isn't being told specifically, I believe she is a Jew. Being around even a Jew would lead to a disaster during the time.

 Anna meets a thin man outside of Herr Doktor Puschmann's pharmacy. She is enticed by the strange vibe emitting from the thin man. When the thin man speaks Bird and a swallow flies down from the sky and the thin man shows Anna the swallow to reduce her sadness, Anna knows she would follow wherever the man would go. The thin man speaks many languages like his father, and he even speaks Bird. 

So, their journey begins.

Anna's childlike innocence isn't being robbed away during the midst of the war. The Swallow Man (he doesn't tell Anna his real name with reasons a name would make him to be found) protects Anna with his own methods. The Swallow Man is an interesting character. He knows how to answers Anna's questions with great analogies and tells her what he would deem important. The Swallow Man seems like he knows all the secrets of the universes. His identity remains a mystery even though there's a bit of revelation at the end of the book. I won't spoil the details here.

“I know it's not good for a girl to be without a father these days. But is it any better for a father to be without a daughter?”
“A river goes wherever the riverbank does. It never had to ask which way, but only flows along. Yes?”

This book is so poetic. I think it has the least dialogues among all the books I've read but the narration is simple due to Anna's childlike mind.

The ending leaves me hanging. If it is possible, I want the author to write the sequel and from's The Swallow Man's point of view. I really hope to know what happens next to Anna, the Swallow Man and their new journeys. However, I believe to stay alive during a war is not an easy task. They are alive yet the journey is still continued to a new future, a future we wouldn't know.

“Men who try to understand the world without the help of children are like men who try to bake bread without the help of yeast.”
“The practice of lying is concerned with attempting to overlay a thin paper substitute atop the world that exists in order that it seems to suit your purposes. But the Swallow Man didn't need the world to suit him. He could make himself suit whatever world it pleased him to agree existed.”

So, my rate is...

Till then.


  1. I don't think I like reading books or watching movies that are about wars. But from the way you summarised, this book seems nice. :)

    1. yes it is a very nice and good book. you should try it ;)

  2. Apsal buku ni macam menarik!!!! and wow.. banyaknya Jojo Moyes punya buku :3

    1. buku ni besttt bacalah hehe Hana dah fall in love ngan Jojo Moyes lepas baca Me Before You ;)

  3. this quote “Men who try to understand the world without the help of children are like men who try to bake bread without the help of yeast.” is really something.. :)

    1. kannn banyak lagi quote best tapi tak larat nak share semua hehe :)

  4. Menarik baca review Hana..
    Akak pun sama macam Hana.. Kalau membaca lepas tu tengok pula drama korea.. maka lambatlah habis baca novel tu..


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