Originally published in 1965, The Painted Bird established Jerzy Kosinski as a major literary figure. Called by the Los Angeles Times "one of the most imposing novels of the decade," it was eventually translated into more than thirty languages.
A harrowing story that follows the wanderings of a boy abandoned by his parents during World War II, The Painted Bird is a dark story that examines the proximity of terror and savagery to innocence and love. It is the first, and the most famous, novel by a writer who is now discredited.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird is an inferno of a novel that left us deeply shaken. During World War II, a young boy suffers through Job-like trials in Eastern Europe after he’s abandoned to fend for himself, witnessing seemingly endless scenes of violence and degradation. Although the book has been subject to controversy—once believed to be autobiographical, it’s now confirmed to be pure fiction—that doesn’t detract from the story’s power. Horrifying in its details, it reminds us in plain but potent language that millions were subjected to the worst actions that humans can inflict upon each other. That’s a lesson that we can never forget.