Endless Journeys

A Holocaust story is an ambitious endeavor for a debut author. Gavriel Savit wrote a historical fiction young adult novel centering around Poland as the Nazis invaded. What I really liked about the book is it wasn’t a story about the war but a story about a young girl on the run as the war is happening around her. Anna’s father leaves for a meeting at the University he teaches at and never comes home. The family friend watching Anna for the day doesn’t want to take the responsibility of harboring a child that might bring unwanted attention from the Nazis and leaves Anna on the street. Not having a mother anymore and no one willing to care for her, Anna is now alone in the world.IMG_0111
A tall, thin man sees Anna sitting in the street and questions what she is doing there by asking her in several different languages. Anna’s father was a linguistics professor and she has grown up with various languages spoken freely. Anna immediately feels a connection with the strange man because of his knowledge of languages and his knowledge of one language she doesn’t know, the song of a swallow bird. This mysterious man allows Anna to follow him out of Krakow and into the surrounding forest where Anna will grow up into a young woman. Anna and the reader never learn the man’s name so because of his connection with swallows, Anna names him Swallow Man while calling him Daddy when strangers are around. The Swallow Man teaches Anna how to survive on the run. He also teaches her the language of Road, a way to lie to the strangers you encounter while being sincere about it.
Gavriel Savit weaves a fairy tale-esk story with beautiful images of loneliness and wanting. Anna and the Swallow Man learn little about each other in their time together but they are caretakers of the other throughout their journey. The ending was left very open ended. We hope Anna will be taken care of but it’s hard to say what will become of her Swallow Man.

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