The Painted Bird ePUB ´ The Painted ePUB ´

The Painted Bird ePUB ´ The Painted ePUB ´

The Painted Bird [PDF / Epub] ☀ The Painted Bird Author Jerzy Kosiński – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk V prvních týdnech druhé světové války na podzim roku 1939 poslali rodiče svého šestiletého chlapce z jednoho velkého města ve východní Evropě do bezpečí jedné vzdálené vesnice Za o V prvních týdnech druhé světové války na podzim roku poslali rodiče svého šestiletého chlapce z The Painted ePUB ´ jednoho velkého města ve východní Evropě do bezpečí jedné vzdálené vesnice Za okupace a ve válečném zmatku kdy docházelo k neustálému přesunu obyvatelstva rodiče ztratili spojení s člověkem který jejich dítěti našel prozatímní domov na vsi Mezitím chlapcova pěstounka zemřela a opuštěné dítě putovalo samo od vesnice k vesnici Někdy mu lidé poskytli přístřeší jindy ho odehnali.


10 thoughts on “The Painted Bird

  1. Paul Bryant Paul Bryant says:

    Reading this one is like opening an oven door and the WHITE HOT BLAST OF HATRED from every page sears your flesh scars your brain and when you finish it you cram it shut with relief and throw it uickly into a box marked “Charity” although giving this to anyone would not be any kind of charitable act unless they need something to keep the fire going What kind of a shitstorm do we have here? For some reason I thought this was the story of a kid caught up in the Holocaust ie a ghetto and concentration camp story But it isn’t It’s the story of 7 year old kid not named who is sent to the remote Polish countryside by his parents in an attempt to keep him safe Fat chance of that The parents appear to have been a little over optimistic The kid avoids the Germans mostly but he can’t avoid the Poles For the next five years he hops from one ghastly peasant village to another being taken in by a series of grotesue caricatures psychopaths sadists rapists the lot of them Every Polish peasant immediately takes him for a Gypsy and from then on thinks it’s okay – almost compulsory to inflict the maximum torment their tiny Polish peasant brains can imagine Did I say Polish peasant? Yes very specifically this book is a hymn of hate to the Polish peasant There’s only a handful of Germans in the whole 285 pages and one of those is uite kindly What this novel is saying in a SCREECHINGLY LOUD voice is that you couldn’t have found a better place for your Holocaust than Poland – everyone truly madly deeply hated the Jews – and the Gypsies They really did They sat around and gleefully told each other that at last the Jews were getting their comeuppance Historical note of the 58 to 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust 75% came from either Poland or Russia 90% of all Polish Jews were murdered ALL of the six extermination camps as opposed to concentration camps were in PolandCinematic note Claude Lanzmann says the same thing as Jerzy in his epic documentary “Shoah”Back to the book There’s a big problem with it Actually there are about ten big problems but the biggest is credibility Is all this stuff to be believed? I mean come on Jerzy This phantasmagoria of bestiality rape murder torture rape incest beating this unceasing onslaught directed against this small boy? Here’s a few uotes Without saying a word Garbos used to beat me unexpectedly p154I did as I was told but he continued the beatings p155As soon as the priest had left Garbos took me inside stripped me and flogged me with a willow switch p156Garbos would practice at first casually and then eagerly new ways of flogging me with a willow cane p159he beat me and kicked me until he was out of breath p160I went round in a daze and was beaten for neglecting my work p160He thought I was mocking him on purpose and I got an even worse beating p161He started to beat me often p165he was beating me harder than usual p166Okay this chapter has beats per minute than most but there’s at least one gross outrage inflicted on this kid once every five pages or so either by adults or by every other kid he encounters You get the idea that this must have been one aggravating revolting brat of a kid No one even smiles at him until page 213 You get so you aren’t taking this stuff as seriously as you really know you should be You catch yourself wincing and saying “Ewwww that was a good one” like when Linda Blair's head goes round in The ExorcistCredibility I kind of think that fiction should tell the truth but I also know it’s made up Hmmm Serious fiction should tell the truth about humans because unserious fiction just peddles the lies myths and distortions we’re all too familiar with So if you’re writing about Holocaust racism as Kosinski is you should make your story credible I don’t want to be saying hey ten pages without a rape murder I bet there’s one coming up soon – oh here it is In this way The painted Bird resembles something like Justine by de Sade – no plot no characters just lots of gruesome vignettes strung together The reader is stultified Such a sensational novel brought Kosinski a lot of attention and when you take a look at this guy he turns out to be very interesting He was like one of those 19th century “adventurers” guys with dubious backgrounds who suddenly explode through the social firmament charming and wowing the glitterati then being revealed as frauds and charlatans By subterfuge JK got himself out of communist Poland and within five minutes he’d created this best seller in his second language I say created because there’s some doubt about whether he actually wrote it JK let it be understood that TPB might be autobiographical and most of its first readers and reviewers accepted it as such – right now uotes the Merriam Webster Encyclopaedia of Literature “The ordeals of the central character parallel Kosinski's own experiences during World War II” But this was exposed in 1996 as a big fat lie when a biographer discovered that Jewish Jerzy and his family lived in Poland together throughout the war protected by all their Polish friends No brutality no ghettos for JK So the best guess might be that JK took most of the stuff in his novel from unidentified Polish language accounts of survival during the war then paid translators to help him render the material into English This isn’t a bad thing but it isn’t the last word in scrupulousness either Critics have noted that all of JK’s novels are in different styles because he always worked with different translators and editors or it has been whispered different ghost writers Back in Poland the communists banned it which is nicely ironic as the adult who rescues the boy finally and becomes a father to him briefly is a communist and teaches the kid all about the workers’ struggle But you can see their point – this is an anti Polish novel – no an anti Polish peasant novel – no an anti Polish peasant during WW2 novel – well definitely one of those In the end this novel is a failure But it's a brave reckless dangerous blazing failure Cinematic PS I was watching Reds the other week and was mightily impressed by the actor playing Zinoviev He had a hell of a face hell of a haircut and a delivery that made his few scenes the most memorable of the 3 hour movie And yes that actor was Jerzy Kosinski What a geezer


  2. Emily May Emily May says:

    Warning I talk about a really gross and disturbing scene from the book in this review please do not read if you're going to be upset andor offended by talk of graphic sexual violenceThis book is one of my dad's favourite books of all time I don't know how many years he's been telling me to read it now and we've always had similar opinions on books before But The Painted Bird did not live up to my expectations and the whole idea of it just left a very bad taste in my mouthPretty much anyone who's ever had some level of history education will have heard of some of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust no matter how many times you read about human beings burning the children of other human beings and watching people slowly starve to death because of their race religion or other factors it is still just as shocking and horrifying One of the areas sometimes neglected in these accounts of wartime cruelty is the suffering of non German Jews and it may come as a shock to some to learn that than 70% of those Jews murdered during Hitler's reign were actually from Poland and Russia Also all six extermination camps as opposed to concentration camps were located in Poland So when Jerzy Kosinski came stumbling out of communist Poland with a story about a young boy who was sent to the Polish countryside by his parents to hopefully protect him from the horrors going on in that area of Europe during this time a young boy who moved from remote village to remote village finding and enduring the worst kind of horrors imaginable along the way most of Kosinski's readers wrongly assumed that this book was autobiographical Rather than correcting his audience Mr Kosinski rode the wave of popularity and did nothing to change these misconceptions I suppose if someone wanted to give me a million for something I hadn't done I'd probably take the money and run too so I don't really care that the author wasn't vocal with the truth of this book But what I do think is that the knowledge that this novel is complete fiction even if this stuff did happen somewhere turns a potentially moving tale into a gratuitous torturefestJust to compare this with S another fictional book about atrocities committed during war I'm not saying that people cannot write successful fictional stories set during the holocaust or that it needs to be a memoir to be effective But where S is a deeply moving tale that focuses on the internal effect had by the abuse which the captors inflicted upon their victims The Painted Bird tells of a series of gruesome acts that vary from extreme beatings to brutal rape scenes to a man gouging out another man's eye with a spoon and you have to ask yourself what he achieved other than making you feel physically ill at times Pointless mindless disgusting scenes of violence that seem to me to be nothing but shock tactics After a while of reading all these disturbing scenes you start to feel like you're in a Saw movie like the author is trying to create scenarios that are each repulsive than the last just to play with the characters a bit make their lives a bit worse Like raping a woman with a glass bottle and then kicking her abdomen until the glass shatters and she bleeds to death And I do not mind reading gross scenes of violence as long as I feel it contributes something and isn't just there to keep me wide eyed long enough that I forget the book isn't very well written and there's been no character development I find it somewhat insulting to all those people who genuinely suffered during the holocaust that Kosinski would use it in a such an awful emotionally manipulative wayI feel like if I'd really wanted to experience violence torture and rape without being moved in any way then I could have just watched Game of Thrones At least that has hot men for me to look at


  3. Glenn Russell Glenn Russell says:

    The cover of the Mass Market Paperback edition from the 1970s of The Painted Bird features a small section of Hieronymus Bosch hell landscape dressed in sickly green and wearing a white hood a creature with a man's body and head of a long beaked bird walks on crutches carrying a large wicker basket on its back and in the basket a small black devil with spiky fingers touches the shoulder of a wary young boy as he whispers into the boy's ear This is an apt cover for Jerzy Kosinski's fictionalized autobiographical novel set in Poland during the reign of Nazi terror in World War 11I first read this harrowing tale thirty five years ago I have read many dark disturbing novels filled with brutality of every stripe including such works as Malamud's The Fixer Dostoyevsky's The House of the Dead and Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago but in my view perhaps because the narrator is a ten year old boy no novel has its main character live through a painful hell than in The Painted BirdSeveral months after reading this novel the author himself made a visit to a large bookstore in Philadelphia for a book signing so I had an opportunity to actually meet him a small man with a thin high pitched voice and sharp chiseled fine features a man who struck me as being both sensitive and friendly He appreciated my words of thanks and told me when asked that he was heading to New Orleans and expected to have some exciting timesAnyway that was then Several days ago I saw my local library had a copy of The Painted Bird audio book and immediately checked it out I started also rereading the printed book as I listened to the audio The reader Fred Berman did his homework his accent and inflection and manner of speaking is spot on Jerzy KosinskiIf you are unfamiliar this story is of an orphan boy with black eyes and sharp nose labeled gypsy Jew forced to wander from village to village subjected physically to beatings rape tortures as well as murder attempts while subjected psychologically to being treated as a messenger of the devil and an evil spirit who casts spells with a glance from his black eyesThe boy is so traumatized from unrelenting abuse he completely losses his capacity to speak for many months The abuse reaches such a pitch at one point he reflects on the nature of evil I tried to visualize the manner in which the evil spirits operated The minds and souls of people were as open to these forces as a plowed field and it was on this field that the Evil Ones incessantly scattered their malignant seed If their seed sprouted to life if they felt welcomed they offered all the help which might be needed on the condition that it would be used for selfish purposes and only to the detriment of others From the moment of signing a pact with the Devil the harm misery injury and bitterness a man could inflict on those around him the help he could expect uite the musings from a ten year old Just goes to show how extreme was his direct experience of the forces of evilIf you are up for an unforgettable experience of terror expressed in the clear vivid literary language of a fine writer then you are ready for The Painted Bird“There's a place beyond words where experience first occurs to which I always want to return I suspect that whenever I articulate my thoughts or translate my impulses into words I am betraying the real thoughts and impulses which remain hidden”― Jerzy Kosinski The Painted Bird


  4. BlackOxford BlackOxford says:

    The Real Spoils of WarIn his Being There Kosinski meditated on the conseuences of being socialised entirely through television The Painted Bird considers how a child might be socialised if that doesn’t stretch the meaning of the word beyond its limits to the chaos of war and the morally deprived society in which it takes place It’s not prettyview spoilerThe unnamed protagonist loses contact with his parents at age six and isn’t reunited with them until after he turns twelve During their separation the boy is subject to the cruelty of the peasant society of rural Poland with its superstitious explanations of all natural phenomena including the boy’s dark hair which makes him anathema as either a Gypsy or a Jew He is also from time to time subject to euivalent cruelty by the invading German Army not because he is either a Gypsy or a Jew but because he is an orphan with no obvious productive contribution to military efficiencyAfter a period of understandable confusion the boy tries desperately to make sense of his new reality His first attempts involve treating his situation in terms of some rational standard if he works hard keeps his mouth shut and obeys he reckons he should be safe Of course he isn’t Cruelty increases without apparent cause or reasonRunning away the boy learns how to survive alone in a forest wilderness But his isolation makes him vulnerable to capture by either the peasants or the Germans Without communal protection he becomes doomed to a life of excruciating slavery He then discovers what he thinks is both community and an explanation of his plight in the Christian religion Prayer he believes is the answer to his suffering If he can build enough credit with God he will be delivered from injusticeBut pray as he might nothing improves In fact he is subject to extreme sexual abuse He concludes not only that there is inherent possibly irresistible evil in the world but that the odds apparently favour those who side decisively with the Demon who embodies evil This Manichaean turn may be distasteful but it appears the only way to achieve justice for his tormentors Captured by evil he becomes muteHis next epiphany occurs with the defeat of the Germans by the Soviets He is taken in cared for and politically indoctrinated by soldiers of the Red Army He sees what power is meant to be protection of the weaker by the stronger The fact that the reader may know of a dissonance between theory and practice in Soviet society is irrelevant to the boy’s experience He perceives this new form of power as salvationBut salvation is only temporary Placed in an orphanage with all the other mutilated and mentally damaged children of war new skills of survival are reuired Justice in particular cannot be left to social institutions but must be seen to personally and proportionately to the offences involved He becomes a street kid a child of the night a friend to low lifes and misfits And he is comfortableUntil his parents appear Suffering a kind of Stockholm Syndrome the boy considers his estranged parents as an inconvenient constraint on his freedom and potential His fantasies and grandiose dreams of success are threatened by parental supervision His peace is shattered by the existence of an annoying younger step brother He is fundamentally unfit for family lifeThe rediscovery of his voice on the ski slopes of Switzerland is a rather ambiguous conclusion that the boy doesn’t comment upon It’s unclear whether Kosinski is suggesting some sort of post traumatic recovery or merely an explanation for how the first person story is told at all It is nevertheless clear that his life will never be normal in any sense of the word hide spoiler


  5. Robin Robin says:

    Recently I said to a teacher of mine as almost a point of pride that I admire books that are void of sentimentality He responded with Have you read Jerzy Kosinski?No I hadn't So I immediately sourced a copy of The Painted Bird thinking sweet giddy up I've read plenty of ruthless books I'm no wilting daisy no stranger to pages penned by an extra sharp uillBut this book this book is hardcore Based at least in part on the childhood experiences of the author this 1965 novel follows the life of a 6 year old Polish boy who is sent away by his parents at the onset of WWII He's meant to stay with a witchy peasant woman in a far away village but that doesn't last for long The boy is forced to survive in an unfriendly rural area where he is despised by everyone who sees him because of the darkness of his hair and eyes They don't know whether to hate him because he's a gypsy or a Jew Either way though he is in troubleWritten in episodes each chapter is a story of a new set of circumstances a new horror show a new twisted fairy tale unlike anything you've read before The child witnesses and endures the worst the world has to offer at the hands of the Polish peasantry Often I had to put it aside to let my brain rest from the relentless pummelling it was taking let the evil images have a chance to fade before picking it up againThis book gives voice to the horrors of war to be sure and in particular the Nazi brand of horrors But what struck me most about this scathing novel is its merciless illustration of the death of innocence The main character starts off like any child with the naive hope that he will be reunited with his parents and be returned to a safe comfortable life But with each episode another hope is extinguished another ideal is destroyed This boy slowly loses faith in both God and people as he realises every one of us stands alone And how given his experiences can he come to any other conclusion?The title is taken from the chapter that features Lekh a peasant who captures birds and has the cruel habit of painting them in bright colours before setting them free Then he watches as the flock who can no longer recognise the bird as one of their own viciously attacks and kills it The boy is undoubtedly the painted bird who cannot be seen as belonging anywhere he goes He's left to a mixture of his own instincts and the random careless luck of the world in order to surviveI don't know that I would recommend this book to anyone due to its extreme nature I know that it has been criticised for exaggerating or exploiting the terrors of the Holocaust as well as painting the Polish peasants as sadistic ignorant filth But personally I have no problem believing that such horrendous things happened and even worse that the innocent hearts of children were hardened into existential lumps I think it is of utmost importance that this controversial story be read by those who dare to show us how close we all are to walking alone and remind us to clutch tightly to each other and our humanity above all elseNow who's getting sentimental here??


  6. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    Malowany Ptak The Painted Bird Jerzy KosińskiThe Painted Bird is a 1965 novel by Jerzy Kosiński which describes World War II as seen by a boy considered a Gypsy or Jewish stray wandering about small villages scattered around an unspecified country in Eastern Europe The story begins by introducing the war and linking it with the boy The young boy's parents are hiding from the Germans and he lives in a village with an elderly woman When the woman dies he is left to care for himself From here he journeys to another village where local townspeople turn him over to the Germans He escapes and travels to another village where he sees Jews and Gypsies headed to concentration camps تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و چهارم ماه آوریل سال 2008 میلادیعنوان پرواز را بخاطر بسپار؛ نویسند یرزی یژی کوزینسکی؛ مترجم ساناز صحتی؛ تهران، هاشمی، 1363؛ در 298ص؛ شابک 9647199082؛ چاپ سوم 1383؛ چاپ چهارم 1385؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان لهستانی امریکایی سده 20مپرواز را به خاطر بسپار، یکی از بزرگوارترین رمانهای پس از جنگ دوم جهانگیر است، که میلیونها نسخه از آن، به فروش رفته، و به همه زبانهای مهم دنیا ترجمه شده است؛ این رمان شعری است ناب، درباره خشونتی که کودکی معصوم، خیالپرداز، و شاعر، متحمل میشود؛ سفری ست مصیبت زده، غمبار، و واقع بینانه، در روح انسانها، و حماسه ی خوابی ست کابوس زده، که هنوز بشریت به طور کامل از آن، بیدار نشده است، علاوه بر اینها این رمان یکی از زیباترین رمانهای جهان است، و برغم این زیبایی، سراسر واقعی است؛ا شربیانی


  7. Violet wells Violet wells says:

    I read in the introduction that Kosinski was attacked on several occasions by Polish nationals after publishing this novel This because it's a merciless mockery and indictment of Polish Catholics and in particular the peasantry In the 19th century literature tended to romanticise rural communities A stance that rarely uite rings true nowadays This novel perhaps exaggerates to the other extreme However one of the most memorable images in The Shoah documentary is the Polish farmer showing how he warned the Jews heading for Treblinka of their imminent fate He makes a throat slitting gesture and then shows all his teeth in a wide grin In that moment you realise he wasn't warning those Jews at all; he was mocking them It's a sad fact that the populations of Germany's enemies often implemented Nazi policy much comprehensively and enthusiastically than Nazi allies Italy for example has a much better record than Poland or France for that matter for its behaviour towards Jews By all accounts there was little racism in Italy There are several cases of the Carabinieri destroying a population census in a district rather than handing it over to the Nazis Italians hid Jews; there are virtually no cases of them betraying them for cash I read recently that the Gestapo received tens of thousands of letters from French civilians denouncing Jews Poland has perhaps the worst record of all If you were a Jew in Poland you had an enemy on the other side of virtually every wall I don't know any details of Kosinski's wartime experiences Clearly they left him embittered and hating the country of his birth However he was a Polish Jew and survived so must have had help from Christian Poles A subtext of this novel is the importance of formal education The Polish peasantry are characterised as uncouth ignoramuses medieval in their religious beliefs and philosophy Witchcraft is still the prevailing belief system But this is a novel not a memoir and should be evaluated as such As a novel it has flaws a couple of them fatal in my view The Painted Bird is a very episodic novel In fact it's sometimes like the same short story written over and over again This is certainly one flaw There's also a sense that Kosinski gets carried away with his fascination for sadistic brutality At times it reads like Holocaust porn horror piled upon horror with a sense he's rather enjoying himself and inviting us to share his voyeuristic fascination Less is is a concept that completely escapes him He piles on the atrocities especially those of a sexual nature and it begins to make for very uncomfortable reading Not because one is shocked; rather that one is embarrassed on the author's behalf by his obsessive fascination for depravity This is particularly evident in a chapter when Ukrainian mercenaries terrorise a village The acts these men subject the villagers to become almost comical in their escalating depravity It's like the Maruis de Sade meets Monty Python In fact you sense the novel's popularity was fed by all the perverted sex in its pages rather than as any kind of moving dramatization of the Holocaust It's a shame because he writes very well and at times offers subtle and memorable insights into the dark side of human nature Also as an act of catharsis I dare say it provided benefits for him and you certainly can't begrudge him that But it probably would have been a better novel had he waited until he was less avid to shock his readers The Holocaust is shocking; we don't need anyone to exaggerate how shocking it was even if with a mischievous ironical twinkle in the eye


  8. Amalia Gkavea Amalia Gkavea says:

    ''We are here in the company of death'' Jewish concentration camp inmate A young boy finds himself lost wandering in the countryside of an unnamed Eastern European country during the Second World War The boy mute and nameless faces a world torn apart a society that doesn't need any kind of war to change It is a world stripped off all traces of kindness compassion and humanity a world that preys upon a child in its most vulnerable moment ''As these brightly coloured creatures sought the safety of their fellows the other birds seeing them as threatening aliens attacked and tore at the outcasts until they killed them'' According to Kosiński this novel is a dark fable that follows the path of Aristophanes' The Birds But ''dark'' doesn't even begin to describe it I am sure most of you know have heard that The Painted Bird is cruelty personified But it is a cruelty that needs to be read Because it exposes every single monstrosity humans are capable of and we don't need war noises playing in the background to acknowledge this We need to experience a boy's ordeals through birds and snakes and insects A child who only vaguely recalls the tender moments of life with parents and whose personality is about to change by witnessing the most horrifying acts you can possibly think ofWe need to witness Evil circling above the heads of villagers who in this world are the lowest form of life as seen by the young boy Even the ravens and the vultures are disgusted by the human corpses We have to experience the enchantment of the huldra the cruelty against the Different the mob that cries ''witchcraft'' while praying to a vicious Satan that no Bible could ever mention ''A rotting crucifix once painted blue stood at the crossroads A holy picture hung at the top from which a pair of barely visible but seemingly tear stained eyes gazed into the empty fields and red glow of the rising sun A gray bird sat on an arm of the cross On catching sight of me it spread its wings and vanished'' ''I saw witches hanging from the trees They stared at me trying to lead me astray and confuse me I distinctly heard the shudders of wandering souls which had escaped from the bodies of penitent sinners'' The boy's life is filled with graves in silent cemeteries and wandering skulls The wind rages the dead moan their sorrows the dogs howl in desperation and madness The prayers are hypocritical the shadows are long and Death haunts the child's every step The wrath of an animalistic mob knows no limits There is no pity for the innocents who are jammed in the wagons heading to the gas chambers according to the desires of the German viciousness of Hitler and his suad of monsters They have no pity for those who try to escape their doom There is no pity for a lonely child He is a Jew An Other Cursed and vilified Without a land or a home or a family Without the right to exist It doesn't matter who fights against the Nazis and the Soviets The villagers need no pretext to unleash Hell Yes this novel contains every possible trigger warning you can think of To the absolute extreme And so does life itself Do I think this portrayal is accurate? Do I believe that human nature is actually capable of the absolute Evil as portrayed in this novel? Of course I do The answer lies in the course of History ''The urge to survive in inherently unfettered Can the imagination any than the boy be held prisoner?''Jerzy Kosiński My reviews can also be found on


  9. Ines Ines says:

    The story we find told by Kosinski is nothing than the reality of the evil experienced by hundreds of children and people during the Second World War Violence and extreme brutality but unfortunately they happened and lived in that period The wickedness recounted in this story I never met in any other book read so far where in a historical epoch the destiny of your life was dictated by belonging and physiognomyThe extreme cruelty of the ancient popular beliefs in the rural world described here is not something invented but meandering and coexisting with the Christian faithWhat scandalizes here is the impossibility and total absence of a good and healthy tenderness denied to all the hearts of historyAnd here however I block and reject the idea that the author wants to give as written aboveI firmly believe that everywhere in the world there is always a pure man of heart of a 'soul that loves you regardlessI refuse to believe that man’s heart is always born fearful and kneeling to the world of evil and hatredLa storia che troviamo narrata da Kosinski non è altro che la realtà del male vissuta da centinaia di bambini e persone durante la seconda guerra mondiale Violenza e brutalità estreme ma pur sempre purtroppo accadute e vissute in uel periodo La malvagità raccontata in uesta storia mai l' ho incontrata in nessun altro libro letto sino ad ora dove in un epoca storica il destino della tua vita era dettato dall' appartenenza e fisionomiala crudeltà estrema delle antiche credenze popolari nel mondo rurale ui descritta non è ualche cosa di inventato ma serpeggiava e conviveva insieme al fede cristianaCiò che scandalizza ui è l' impossibilità e la totale assenza di un bene e tenetezza sana negato a tutti i cuori della storiae io ui però mi blocco e rifiuto l'idea che vuol dare l'autore in ogni dove del mondo c' è sempre un uomo puro di cuore di un 'anima che ti ama a prescinderemi rifiuto di credere che il cuore dell' uomo nasca sempre timorato e inginocchiato al mondo del male e dell'odio


  10. Bookcase Jim Bookcase Jim says:

    After reading some of the reviews on here I'm hoping that this will bring some sanity to the steaming heaps of hyperbole Comparisons to the Saw films torture porn and complaints that the violence was simply all too gratuitous are the backbone of reviews that completely miss the point and should be dismissed out of hand The purpose of a picaresue narrative is to present to the reader a picture of society and societal involvement that one would otherwise rather ignore not all truths being pleasant ones Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird and the Picaresue Tradition Joseph V Ricapito in Neohelicon 1977 I strongly recommend reading the book from the very beginning; Start by reading Jerzy Kosinski's foreword He discusses its reception some of his motives for writing it and the background to the story He explains that this is fiction he also explains as he does in the pages of the novel the phenomenontradition of a painted bird This is the key motif to the story Missing the significance here is missing the point entirely As I mentioned above most reviewers of this novel read it without even understanding it He also says it was not an autobiographical account so again I don't see why reviewers on here have to bring up the controversy surrounding 'facts' in his fictional novel That being said Kosinski also mentions that amidst the overwhelming criticism from his native Poland where it was banned some of the book's supporters were critical of his 'watered down' depiction of events given that many occurrences that took place in Europe during the war were much dramatic and cruel than those described in The Painted Bird I tend to believe this; art imitates life not the other way around The novel follows a young city boy who is sent out to the countryside to stay away from the war Unfortunately his parents didn't realize that the countryside is rife with primitive illiterate peasants Or maybe they did but figured they are a better alternative to the invading Nazis The trouble with this little boy is that he's got a darker complexion than the fair skinned blond haired natives of the villages Wherever he goes he is immediately branded as the worst thing to be; a gypsy or Jew or both In either case the superstitious villagers despise and fear him for his supposed evil powers And then bad things happen to himAt one time in that part of the world probably for entertainment people would sometimes capture a bird and paint vivid colours over its feathers They would then release the bird who flew straight back to its own The flock confused by the stranger's appearance would begin to attack the painted bird and eventually kill it not recognizing it as one of their own The painted bird in turn would likely not understand why its feathery friends were trying to kill it The allegory Kosinski makes is very simple in my eyes The boy a living breathing human being is not recognized as one of their own by confused and uneducated peasants Each beating and humiliating act that he endures is a violent peck against his outward appearance Simple The novel is called The Painted Bird Does anyone really believe it's just a uirky title related to the tradition of painting a bird's feathers?Then there were some things that just somehow made it difficult to take seriously It often reads like a grocery list of superstitions and neo pagan beliefs Recipes for simple ailments that involve ground bones horse teeth and various secretions I found the description of these potions disgusting than the violence for the most part The superstitions were everywhere though The belief that gypsies have the power to kill by looking in one's eyes The need to spit three time in any gypsies' direction to counter the 'death look' Hidingcovering one's teeth when smiling in case a gypsy might count them and take that amount of years off your life The myriad of demons and spirits who roam the forests and the fields The rope of a suicidee that's meant to bring good luck These and many many became fact by the end of book They certainly became fact for our anti hero who himself came to believe the very same things Kosinsky also describes some situations that read as if straight out of Borat The Polish peasant is made to look stupider and ignorant than any other being on the planet From this point of view I'm not surprised it was banned in commie Poland Finally I'm going to add a personal note I grew up in a place where corporal punishment was still doled out at school I had strangers who were very mean to me as kid when I was the same age as Kosinsky's 'painted bird' I had my hair and ears pulled undeservedly by adults I went to school with kids who'd clearly been badly beaten at home I had the back of my hands smacked by the teacher's ruler I was slapped by a doctor once for crying In my eyes adults were large creatures to be feared They loved to scare and hurt kids They were mean cruel people And this was in the 80s in a city and I didn't look different from anybody else Yes it’s unbelievable that one child could suffer so much to our coddled Western minds but to think that a child at the mercy of a bunch of uneducated backwater type Eastern European rednecks during the blood orgy that was the Second World War would not have to endure much much worse is naive I too believe that given the setting and circumstances Kosinski offers a watered down narrative I can't give this five stars because I think Kosinski could've gone further with the material and subject matter at hand Both from the perspective of the narrative and from a literary point of view It was at times too two dimensional and I breezed right through it Although that's the point of the picaresue novel it's hard not to ask for I enjoyed it for the historical context very much and for an accurate reflection of our human condition Maybe I just wish he'd shown it as a painting instead of a caricature


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10 thoughts on “The Painted Bird

  1. Paul Bryant Paul Bryant says:

    Reading this one is like opening an oven door and the WHITE HOT BLAST OF HATRED from every page sears your flesh scars your brain and when you finish it you cram it shut with relief and throw it uickly into a box marked “Charity” although giving this to anyone would not be any kind of charitable act unless they need something to keep the fire going What kind of a shitstorm do we have here? For some reason I thought this was the story of a kid caught up in the Holocaust ie a ghetto and concentration camp story But it isn’t It’s the story of 7 year old kid not named who is sent to the remote Polish countryside by his parents in an attempt to keep him safe Fat chance of that The parents appear to have been a little over optimistic The kid avoids the Germans mostly but he can’t avoid the Poles For the next five years he hops from one ghastly peasant village to another being taken in by a series of grotesue caricatures psychopaths sadists rapists the lot of them Every Polish peasant immediately takes him for a Gypsy and from then on thinks it’s okay – almost compulsory to inflict the maximum torment their tiny Polish peasant brains can imagine Did I say Polish peasant? Yes very specifically this book is a hymn of hate to the Polish peasant There’s only a handful of Germans in the whole 285 pages and one of those is uite kindly What this novel is saying in a SCREECHINGLY LOUD voice is that you couldn’t have found a better place for your Holocaust than Poland – everyone truly madly deeply hated the Jews – and the Gypsies They really did They sat around and gleefully told each other that at last the Jews were getting their comeuppance Historical note of the 58 to 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust 75% came from either Poland or Russia 90% of all Polish Jews were murdered ALL of the six extermination camps as opposed to concentration camps were in PolandCinematic note Claude Lanzmann says the same thing as Jerzy in his epic documentary “Shoah”Back to the book There’s a big problem with it Actually there are about ten big problems but the biggest is credibility Is all this stuff to be believed? I mean come on Jerzy This phantasmagoria of bestiality rape murder torture rape incest beating this unceasing onslaught directed against this small boy? Here’s a few uotes Without saying a word Garbos used to beat me unexpectedly p154I did as I was told but he continued the beatings p155As soon as the priest had left Garbos took me inside stripped me and flogged me with a willow switch p156Garbos would practice at first casually and then eagerly new ways of flogging me with a willow cane p159he beat me and kicked me until he was out of breath p160I went round in a daze and was beaten for neglecting my work p160He thought I was mocking him on purpose and I got an even worse beating p161He started to beat me often p165he was beating me harder than usual p166Okay this chapter has beats per minute than most but there’s at least one gross outrage inflicted on this kid once every five pages or so either by adults or by every other kid he encounters You get the idea that this must have been one aggravating revolting brat of a kid No one even smiles at him until page 213 You get so you aren’t taking this stuff as seriously as you really know you should be You catch yourself wincing and saying “Ewwww that was a good one” like when Linda Blair's head goes round in The ExorcistCredibility I kind of think that fiction should tell the truth but I also know it’s made up Hmmm Serious fiction should tell the truth about humans because unserious fiction just peddles the lies myths and distortions we’re all too familiar with So if you’re writing about Holocaust racism as Kosinski is you should make your story credible I don’t want to be saying hey ten pages without a rape murder I bet there’s one coming up soon – oh here it is In this way The painted Bird resembles something like Justine by de Sade – no plot no characters just lots of gruesome vignettes strung together The reader is stultified Such a sensational novel brought Kosinski a lot of attention and when you take a look at this guy he turns out to be very interesting He was like one of those 19th century “adventurers” guys with dubious backgrounds who suddenly explode through the social firmament charming and wowing the glitterati then being revealed as frauds and charlatans By subterfuge JK got himself out of communist Poland and within five minutes he’d created this best seller in his second language I say created because there’s some doubt about whether he actually wrote it JK let it be understood that TPB might be autobiographical and most of its first readers and reviewers accepted it as such – right now uotes the Merriam Webster Encyclopaedia of Literature “The ordeals of the central character parallel Kosinski's own experiences during World War II” But this was exposed in 1996 as a big fat lie when a biographer discovered that Jewish Jerzy and his family lived in Poland together throughout the war protected by all their Polish friends No brutality no ghettos for JK So the best guess might be that JK took most of the stuff in his novel from unidentified Polish language accounts of survival during the war then paid translators to help him render the material into English This isn’t a bad thing but it isn’t the last word in scrupulousness either Critics have noted that all of JK’s novels are in different styles because he always worked with different translators and editors or it has been whispered different ghost writers Back in Poland the communists banned it which is nicely ironic as the adult who rescues the boy finally and becomes a father to him briefly is a communist and teaches the kid all about the workers’ struggle But you can see their point – this is an anti Polish novel – no an anti Polish peasant novel – no an anti Polish peasant during WW2 novel – well definitely one of those In the end this novel is a failure But it's a brave reckless dangerous blazing failure Cinematic PS I was watching Reds the other week and was mightily impressed by the actor playing Zinoviev He had a hell of a face hell of a haircut and a delivery that made his few scenes the most memorable of the 3 hour movie And yes that actor was Jerzy Kosinski What a geezer

  2. Emily May Emily May says:

    Warning I talk about a really gross and disturbing scene from the book in this review please do not read if you're going to be upset andor offended by talk of graphic sexual violenceThis book is one of my dad's favourite books of all time I don't know how many years he's been telling me to read it now and we've always had similar opinions on books before But The Painted Bird did not live up to my expectations and the whole idea of it just left a very bad taste in my mouthPretty much anyone who's ever had some level of history education will have heard of some of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust no matter how many times you read about human beings burning the children of other human beings and watching people slowly starve to death because of their race religion or other factors it is still just as shocking and horrifying One of the areas sometimes neglected in these accounts of wartime cruelty is the suffering of non German Jews and it may come as a shock to some to learn that than 70% of those Jews murdered during Hitler's reign were actually from Poland and Russia Also all six extermination camps as opposed to concentration camps were located in Poland So when Jerzy Kosinski came stumbling out of communist Poland with a story about a young boy who was sent to the Polish countryside by his parents to hopefully protect him from the horrors going on in that area of Europe during this time a young boy who moved from remote village to remote village finding and enduring the worst kind of horrors imaginable along the way most of Kosinski's readers wrongly assumed that this book was autobiographical Rather than correcting his audience Mr Kosinski rode the wave of popularity and did nothing to change these misconceptions I suppose if someone wanted to give me a million for something I hadn't done I'd probably take the money and run too so I don't really care that the author wasn't vocal with the truth of this book But what I do think is that the knowledge that this novel is complete fiction even if this stuff did happen somewhere turns a potentially moving tale into a gratuitous torturefestJust to compare this with S another fictional book about atrocities committed during war I'm not saying that people cannot write successful fictional stories set during the holocaust or that it needs to be a memoir to be effective But where S is a deeply moving tale that focuses on the internal effect had by the abuse which the captors inflicted upon their victims The Painted Bird tells of a series of gruesome acts that vary from extreme beatings to brutal rape scenes to a man gouging out another man's eye with a spoon and you have to ask yourself what he achieved other than making you feel physically ill at times Pointless mindless disgusting scenes of violence that seem to me to be nothing but shock tactics After a while of reading all these disturbing scenes you start to feel like you're in a Saw movie like the author is trying to create scenarios that are each repulsive than the last just to play with the characters a bit make their lives a bit worse Like raping a woman with a glass bottle and then kicking her abdomen until the glass shatters and she bleeds to death And I do not mind reading gross scenes of violence as long as I feel it contributes something and isn't just there to keep me wide eyed long enough that I forget the book isn't very well written and there's been no character development I find it somewhat insulting to all those people who genuinely suffered during the holocaust that Kosinski would use it in a such an awful emotionally manipulative wayI feel like if I'd really wanted to experience violence torture and rape without being moved in any way then I could have just watched Game of Thrones At least that has hot men for me to look at

  3. Glenn Russell Glenn Russell says:

    The cover of the Mass Market Paperback edition from the 1970s of The Painted Bird features a small section of Hieronymus Bosch hell landscape dressed in sickly green and wearing a white hood a creature with a man's body and head of a long beaked bird walks on crutches carrying a large wicker basket on its back and in the basket a small black devil with spiky fingers touches the shoulder of a wary young boy as he whispers into the boy's ear This is an apt cover for Jerzy Kosinski's fictionalized autobiographical novel set in Poland during the reign of Nazi terror in World War 11I first read this harrowing tale thirty five years ago I have read many dark disturbing novels filled with brutality of every stripe including such works as Malamud's The Fixer Dostoyevsky's The House of the Dead and Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago but in my view perhaps because the narrator is a ten year old boy no novel has its main character live through a painful hell than in The Painted BirdSeveral months after reading this novel the author himself made a visit to a large bookstore in Philadelphia for a book signing so I had an opportunity to actually meet him a small man with a thin high pitched voice and sharp chiseled fine features a man who struck me as being both sensitive and friendly He appreciated my words of thanks and told me when asked that he was heading to New Orleans and expected to have some exciting timesAnyway that was then Several days ago I saw my local library had a copy of The Painted Bird audio book and immediately checked it out I started also rereading the printed book as I listened to the audio The reader Fred Berman did his homework his accent and inflection and manner of speaking is spot on Jerzy KosinskiIf you are unfamiliar this story is of an orphan boy with black eyes and sharp nose labeled gypsy Jew forced to wander from village to village subjected physically to beatings rape tortures as well as murder attempts while subjected psychologically to being treated as a messenger of the devil and an evil spirit who casts spells with a glance from his black eyesThe boy is so traumatized from unrelenting abuse he completely losses his capacity to speak for many months The abuse reaches such a pitch at one point he reflects on the nature of evil I tried to visualize the manner in which the evil spirits operated The minds and souls of people were as open to these forces as a plowed field and it was on this field that the Evil Ones incessantly scattered their malignant seed If their seed sprouted to life if they felt welcomed they offered all the help which might be needed on the condition that it would be used for selfish purposes and only to the detriment of others From the moment of signing a pact with the Devil the harm misery injury and bitterness a man could inflict on those around him the help he could expect uite the musings from a ten year old Just goes to show how extreme was his direct experience of the forces of evilIf you are up for an unforgettable experience of terror expressed in the clear vivid literary language of a fine writer then you are ready for The Painted Bird“There's a place beyond words where experience first occurs to which I always want to return I suspect that whenever I articulate my thoughts or translate my impulses into words I am betraying the real thoughts and impulses which remain hidden”― Jerzy Kosinski The Painted Bird

  4. BlackOxford BlackOxford says:

    The Real Spoils of WarIn his Being There Kosinski meditated on the conseuences of being socialised entirely through television The Painted Bird considers how a child might be socialised if that doesn’t stretch the meaning of the word beyond its limits to the chaos of war and the morally deprived society in which it takes place It’s not prettyview spoilerThe unnamed protagonist loses contact with his parents at age six and isn’t reunited with them until after he turns twelve During their separation the boy is subject to the cruelty of the peasant society of rural Poland with its superstitious explanations of all natural phenomena including the boy’s dark hair which makes him anathema as either a Gypsy or a Jew He is also from time to time subject to euivalent cruelty by the invading German Army not because he is either a Gypsy or a Jew but because he is an orphan with no obvious productive contribution to military efficiencyAfter a period of understandable confusion the boy tries desperately to make sense of his new reality His first attempts involve treating his situation in terms of some rational standard if he works hard keeps his mouth shut and obeys he reckons he should be safe Of course he isn’t Cruelty increases without apparent cause or reasonRunning away the boy learns how to survive alone in a forest wilderness But his isolation makes him vulnerable to capture by either the peasants or the Germans Without communal protection he becomes doomed to a life of excruciating slavery He then discovers what he thinks is both community and an explanation of his plight in the Christian religion Prayer he believes is the answer to his suffering If he can build enough credit with God he will be delivered from injusticeBut pray as he might nothing improves In fact he is subject to extreme sexual abuse He concludes not only that there is inherent possibly irresistible evil in the world but that the odds apparently favour those who side decisively with the Demon who embodies evil This Manichaean turn may be distasteful but it appears the only way to achieve justice for his tormentors Captured by evil he becomes muteHis next epiphany occurs with the defeat of the Germans by the Soviets He is taken in cared for and politically indoctrinated by soldiers of the Red Army He sees what power is meant to be protection of the weaker by the stronger The fact that the reader may know of a dissonance between theory and practice in Soviet society is irrelevant to the boy’s experience He perceives this new form of power as salvationBut salvation is only temporary Placed in an orphanage with all the other mutilated and mentally damaged children of war new skills of survival are reuired Justice in particular cannot be left to social institutions but must be seen to personally and proportionately to the offences involved He becomes a street kid a child of the night a friend to low lifes and misfits And he is comfortableUntil his parents appear Suffering a kind of Stockholm Syndrome the boy considers his estranged parents as an inconvenient constraint on his freedom and potential His fantasies and grandiose dreams of success are threatened by parental supervision His peace is shattered by the existence of an annoying younger step brother He is fundamentally unfit for family lifeThe rediscovery of his voice on the ski slopes of Switzerland is a rather ambiguous conclusion that the boy doesn’t comment upon It’s unclear whether Kosinski is suggesting some sort of post traumatic recovery or merely an explanation for how the first person story is told at all It is nevertheless clear that his life will never be normal in any sense of the word hide spoiler

  5. Robin Robin says:

    Recently I said to a teacher of mine as almost a point of pride that I admire books that are void of sentimentality He responded with Have you read Jerzy Kosinski?No I hadn't So I immediately sourced a copy of The Painted Bird thinking sweet giddy up I've read plenty of ruthless books I'm no wilting daisy no stranger to pages penned by an extra sharp uillBut this book this book is hardcore Based at least in part on the childhood experiences of the author this 1965 novel follows the life of a 6 year old Polish boy who is sent away by his parents at the onset of WWII He's meant to stay with a witchy peasant woman in a far away village but that doesn't last for long The boy is forced to survive in an unfriendly rural area where he is despised by everyone who sees him because of the darkness of his hair and eyes They don't know whether to hate him because he's a gypsy or a Jew Either way though he is in troubleWritten in episodes each chapter is a story of a new set of circumstances a new horror show a new twisted fairy tale unlike anything you've read before The child witnesses and endures the worst the world has to offer at the hands of the Polish peasantry Often I had to put it aside to let my brain rest from the relentless pummelling it was taking let the evil images have a chance to fade before picking it up againThis book gives voice to the horrors of war to be sure and in particular the Nazi brand of horrors But what struck me most about this scathing novel is its merciless illustration of the death of innocence The main character starts off like any child with the naive hope that he will be reunited with his parents and be returned to a safe comfortable life But with each episode another hope is extinguished another ideal is destroyed This boy slowly loses faith in both God and people as he realises every one of us stands alone And how given his experiences can he come to any other conclusion?The title is taken from the chapter that features Lekh a peasant who captures birds and has the cruel habit of painting them in bright colours before setting them free Then he watches as the flock who can no longer recognise the bird as one of their own viciously attacks and kills it The boy is undoubtedly the painted bird who cannot be seen as belonging anywhere he goes He's left to a mixture of his own instincts and the random careless luck of the world in order to surviveI don't know that I would recommend this book to anyone due to its extreme nature I know that it has been criticised for exaggerating or exploiting the terrors of the Holocaust as well as painting the Polish peasants as sadistic ignorant filth But personally I have no problem believing that such horrendous things happened and even worse that the innocent hearts of children were hardened into existential lumps I think it is of utmost importance that this controversial story be read by those who dare to show us how close we all are to walking alone and remind us to clutch tightly to each other and our humanity above all elseNow who's getting sentimental here??

  6. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    Malowany Ptak The Painted Bird Jerzy KosińskiThe Painted Bird is a 1965 novel by Jerzy Kosiński which describes World War II as seen by a boy considered a Gypsy or Jewish stray wandering about small villages scattered around an unspecified country in Eastern Europe The story begins by introducing the war and linking it with the boy The young boy's parents are hiding from the Germans and he lives in a village with an elderly woman When the woman dies he is left to care for himself From here he journeys to another village where local townspeople turn him over to the Germans He escapes and travels to another village where he sees Jews and Gypsies headed to concentration camps تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و چهارم ماه آوریل سال 2008 میلادیعنوان پرواز را بخاطر بسپار؛ نویسند یرزی یژی کوزینسکی؛ مترجم ساناز صحتی؛ تهران، هاشمی، 1363؛ در 298ص؛ شابک 9647199082؛ چاپ سوم 1383؛ چاپ چهارم 1385؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان لهستانی امریکایی سده 20مپرواز را به خاطر بسپار، یکی از بزرگوارترین رمانهای پس از جنگ دوم جهانگیر است، که میلیونها نسخه از آن، به فروش رفته، و به همه زبانهای مهم دنیا ترجمه شده است؛ این رمان شعری است ناب، درباره خشونتی که کودکی معصوم، خیالپرداز، و شاعر، متحمل میشود؛ سفری ست مصیبت زده، غمبار، و واقع بینانه، در روح انسانها، و حماسه ی خوابی ست کابوس زده، که هنوز بشریت به طور کامل از آن، بیدار نشده است، علاوه بر اینها این رمان یکی از زیباترین رمانهای جهان است، و برغم این زیبایی، سراسر واقعی است؛ا شربیانی

  7. Violet wells Violet wells says:

    I read in the introduction that Kosinski was attacked on several occasions by Polish nationals after publishing this novel This because it's a merciless mockery and indictment of Polish Catholics and in particular the peasantry In the 19th century literature tended to romanticise rural communities A stance that rarely uite rings true nowadays This novel perhaps exaggerates to the other extreme However one of the most memorable images in The Shoah documentary is the Polish farmer showing how he warned the Jews heading for Treblinka of their imminent fate He makes a throat slitting gesture and then shows all his teeth in a wide grin In that moment you realise he wasn't warning those Jews at all; he was mocking them It's a sad fact that the populations of Germany's enemies often implemented Nazi policy much comprehensively and enthusiastically than Nazi allies Italy for example has a much better record than Poland or France for that matter for its behaviour towards Jews By all accounts there was little racism in Italy There are several cases of the Carabinieri destroying a population census in a district rather than handing it over to the Nazis Italians hid Jews; there are virtually no cases of them betraying them for cash I read recently that the Gestapo received tens of thousands of letters from French civilians denouncing Jews Poland has perhaps the worst record of all If you were a Jew in Poland you had an enemy on the other side of virtually every wall I don't know any details of Kosinski's wartime experiences Clearly they left him embittered and hating the country of his birth However he was a Polish Jew and survived so must have had help from Christian Poles A subtext of this novel is the importance of formal education The Polish peasantry are characterised as uncouth ignoramuses medieval in their religious beliefs and philosophy Witchcraft is still the prevailing belief system But this is a novel not a memoir and should be evaluated as such As a novel it has flaws a couple of them fatal in my view The Painted Bird is a very episodic novel In fact it's sometimes like the same short story written over and over again This is certainly one flaw There's also a sense that Kosinski gets carried away with his fascination for sadistic brutality At times it reads like Holocaust porn horror piled upon horror with a sense he's rather enjoying himself and inviting us to share his voyeuristic fascination Less is is a concept that completely escapes him He piles on the atrocities especially those of a sexual nature and it begins to make for very uncomfortable reading Not because one is shocked; rather that one is embarrassed on the author's behalf by his obsessive fascination for depravity This is particularly evident in a chapter when Ukrainian mercenaries terrorise a village The acts these men subject the villagers to become almost comical in their escalating depravity It's like the Maruis de Sade meets Monty Python In fact you sense the novel's popularity was fed by all the perverted sex in its pages rather than as any kind of moving dramatization of the Holocaust It's a shame because he writes very well and at times offers subtle and memorable insights into the dark side of human nature Also as an act of catharsis I dare say it provided benefits for him and you certainly can't begrudge him that But it probably would have been a better novel had he waited until he was less avid to shock his readers The Holocaust is shocking; we don't need anyone to exaggerate how shocking it was even if with a mischievous ironical twinkle in the eye

  8. Amalia Gkavea Amalia Gkavea says:

    ''We are here in the company of death'' Jewish concentration camp inmate A young boy finds himself lost wandering in the countryside of an unnamed Eastern European country during the Second World War The boy mute and nameless faces a world torn apart a society that doesn't need any kind of war to change It is a world stripped off all traces of kindness compassion and humanity a world that preys upon a child in its most vulnerable moment ''As these brightly coloured creatures sought the safety of their fellows the other birds seeing them as threatening aliens attacked and tore at the outcasts until they killed them'' According to Kosiński this novel is a dark fable that follows the path of Aristophanes' The Birds But ''dark'' doesn't even begin to describe it I am sure most of you know have heard that The Painted Bird is cruelty personified But it is a cruelty that needs to be read Because it exposes every single monstrosity humans are capable of and we don't need war noises playing in the background to acknowledge this We need to experience a boy's ordeals through birds and snakes and insects A child who only vaguely recalls the tender moments of life with parents and whose personality is about to change by witnessing the most horrifying acts you can possibly think ofWe need to witness Evil circling above the heads of villagers who in this world are the lowest form of life as seen by the young boy Even the ravens and the vultures are disgusted by the human corpses We have to experience the enchantment of the huldra the cruelty against the Different the mob that cries ''witchcraft'' while praying to a vicious Satan that no Bible could ever mention ''A rotting crucifix once painted blue stood at the crossroads A holy picture hung at the top from which a pair of barely visible but seemingly tear stained eyes gazed into the empty fields and red glow of the rising sun A gray bird sat on an arm of the cross On catching sight of me it spread its wings and vanished'' ''I saw witches hanging from the trees They stared at me trying to lead me astray and confuse me I distinctly heard the shudders of wandering souls which had escaped from the bodies of penitent sinners'' The boy's life is filled with graves in silent cemeteries and wandering skulls The wind rages the dead moan their sorrows the dogs howl in desperation and madness The prayers are hypocritical the shadows are long and Death haunts the child's every step The wrath of an animalistic mob knows no limits There is no pity for the innocents who are jammed in the wagons heading to the gas chambers according to the desires of the German viciousness of Hitler and his suad of monsters They have no pity for those who try to escape their doom There is no pity for a lonely child He is a Jew An Other Cursed and vilified Without a land or a home or a family Without the right to exist It doesn't matter who fights against the Nazis and the Soviets The villagers need no pretext to unleash Hell Yes this novel contains every possible trigger warning you can think of To the absolute extreme And so does life itself Do I think this portrayal is accurate? Do I believe that human nature is actually capable of the absolute Evil as portrayed in this novel? Of course I do The answer lies in the course of History ''The urge to survive in inherently unfettered Can the imagination any than the boy be held prisoner?''Jerzy Kosiński My reviews can also be found on

  9. Ines Ines says:

    The story we find told by Kosinski is nothing than the reality of the evil experienced by hundreds of children and people during the Second World War Violence and extreme brutality but unfortunately they happened and lived in that period The wickedness recounted in this story I never met in any other book read so far where in a historical epoch the destiny of your life was dictated by belonging and physiognomyThe extreme cruelty of the ancient popular beliefs in the rural world described here is not something invented but meandering and coexisting with the Christian faithWhat scandalizes here is the impossibility and total absence of a good and healthy tenderness denied to all the hearts of historyAnd here however I block and reject the idea that the author wants to give as written aboveI firmly believe that everywhere in the world there is always a pure man of heart of a 'soul that loves you regardlessI refuse to believe that man’s heart is always born fearful and kneeling to the world of evil and hatredLa storia che troviamo narrata da Kosinski non è altro che la realtà del male vissuta da centinaia di bambini e persone durante la seconda guerra mondiale Violenza e brutalità estreme ma pur sempre purtroppo accadute e vissute in uel periodo La malvagità raccontata in uesta storia mai l' ho incontrata in nessun altro libro letto sino ad ora dove in un epoca storica il destino della tua vita era dettato dall' appartenenza e fisionomiala crudeltà estrema delle antiche credenze popolari nel mondo rurale ui descritta non è ualche cosa di inventato ma serpeggiava e conviveva insieme al fede cristianaCiò che scandalizza ui è l' impossibilità e la totale assenza di un bene e tenetezza sana negato a tutti i cuori della storiae io ui però mi blocco e rifiuto l'idea che vuol dare l'autore in ogni dove del mondo c' è sempre un uomo puro di cuore di un 'anima che ti ama a prescinderemi rifiuto di credere che il cuore dell' uomo nasca sempre timorato e inginocchiato al mondo del male e dell'odio

  10. Bookcase Jim Bookcase Jim says:

    After reading some of the reviews on here I'm hoping that this will bring some sanity to the steaming heaps of hyperbole Comparisons to the Saw films torture porn and complaints that the violence was simply all too gratuitous are the backbone of reviews that completely miss the point and should be dismissed out of hand The purpose of a picaresue narrative is to present to the reader a picture of society and societal involvement that one would otherwise rather ignore not all truths being pleasant ones Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird and the Picaresue Tradition Joseph V Ricapito in Neohelicon 1977 I strongly recommend reading the book from the very beginning; Start by reading Jerzy Kosinski's foreword He discusses its reception some of his motives for writing it and the background to the story He explains that this is fiction he also explains as he does in the pages of the novel the phenomenontradition of a painted bird This is the key motif to the story Missing the significance here is missing the point entirely As I mentioned above most reviewers of this novel read it without even understanding it He also says it was not an autobiographical account so again I don't see why reviewers on here have to bring up the controversy surrounding 'facts' in his fictional novel That being said Kosinski also mentions that amidst the overwhelming criticism from his native Poland where it was banned some of the book's supporters were critical of his 'watered down' depiction of events given that many occurrences that took place in Europe during the war were much dramatic and cruel than those described in The Painted Bird I tend to believe this; art imitates life not the other way around The novel follows a young city boy who is sent out to the countryside to stay away from the war Unfortunately his parents didn't realize that the countryside is rife with primitive illiterate peasants Or maybe they did but figured they are a better alternative to the invading Nazis The trouble with this little boy is that he's got a darker complexion than the fair skinned blond haired natives of the villages Wherever he goes he is immediately branded as the worst thing to be; a gypsy or Jew or both In either case the superstitious villagers despise and fear him for his supposed evil powers And then bad things happen to himAt one time in that part of the world probably for entertainment people would sometimes capture a bird and paint vivid colours over its feathers They would then release the bird who flew straight back to its own The flock confused by the stranger's appearance would begin to attack the painted bird and eventually kill it not recognizing it as one of their own The painted bird in turn would likely not understand why its feathery friends were trying to kill it The allegory Kosinski makes is very simple in my eyes The boy a living breathing human being is not recognized as one of their own by confused and uneducated peasants Each beating and humiliating act that he endures is a violent peck against his outward appearance Simple The novel is called The Painted Bird Does anyone really believe it's just a uirky title related to the tradition of painting a bird's feathers?Then there were some things that just somehow made it difficult to take seriously It often reads like a grocery list of superstitions and neo pagan beliefs Recipes for simple ailments that involve ground bones horse teeth and various secretions I found the description of these potions disgusting than the violence for the most part The superstitions were everywhere though The belief that gypsies have the power to kill by looking in one's eyes The need to spit three time in any gypsies' direction to counter the 'death look' Hidingcovering one's teeth when smiling in case a gypsy might count them and take that amount of years off your life The myriad of demons and spirits who roam the forests and the fields The rope of a suicidee that's meant to bring good luck These and many many became fact by the end of book They certainly became fact for our anti hero who himself came to believe the very same things Kosinsky also describes some situations that read as if straight out of Borat The Polish peasant is made to look stupider and ignorant than any other being on the planet From this point of view I'm not surprised it was banned in commie Poland Finally I'm going to add a personal note I grew up in a place where corporal punishment was still doled out at school I had strangers who were very mean to me as kid when I was the same age as Kosinsky's 'painted bird' I had my hair and ears pulled undeservedly by adults I went to school with kids who'd clearly been badly beaten at home I had the back of my hands smacked by the teacher's ruler I was slapped by a doctor once for crying In my eyes adults were large creatures to be feared They loved to scare and hurt kids They were mean cruel people And this was in the 80s in a city and I didn't look different from anybody else Yes it’s unbelievable that one child could suffer so much to our coddled Western minds but to think that a child at the mercy of a bunch of uneducated backwater type Eastern European rednecks during the blood orgy that was the Second World War would not have to endure much much worse is naive I too believe that given the setting and circumstances Kosinski offers a watered down narrative I can't give this five stars because I think Kosinski could've gone further with the material and subject matter at hand Both from the perspective of the narrative and from a literary point of view It was at times too two dimensional and I breezed right through it Although that's the point of the picaresue novel it's hard not to ask for I enjoyed it for the historical context very much and for an accurate reflection of our human condition Maybe I just wish he'd shown it as a painting instead of a caricature

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