I saw a few bloggers get this book in the post a while back and I was very intrigued by its beautiful cover. So when I was invited to the Penguin Christmas party back in December, I was thrilled that I was able to pick this one up to read. If you have ever read The Book Thief or The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (I have read the former) then this is the sort of lines this book was written along.
I had been in a bit of a reading slump, but Anna and the Swallow Man managed to pull me out of this and drew me in straight away. Although melancholy, there is something kind of beautiful about this story and the journey that Anna goes on. Set in wartime Poland, this is Anna's story of her Father disappearing and her sudden aloneness, but how meeting the Swallow Man saves her in a unique way.
This was a hard book to read at times, especially as it is written from the eyes of a child who has had to suddenly grow up very rapidly. Although that said, it is very cleverly written from Anna's point of view and I was so impressed with the author's attention to detail. His writing is simple, yet beautiful.
I found the Swallow Man himself a very interesting character, on the point of mysterious, we never actually get to know him fully and what had happened to him before. I felt like Anna, I was in awe, but at the same time in slight fear of him and feeling that he could disappear at any moment.
Although this is obviously set in wartime, the actual war itself features in the background. It did actually remind me of the film Life is Beautiful, where the Father pretends to his son that they are playing a game and are not actually in a concentration camp. Such a sad film, but it means that the true horrors of what is happening only skirt around the edges.
Heartwrenching and unforgettable, this was a beautiful but sad story.