The Painted Bird

  • by Jerzy Kosinski
  • Narrated by Fred Berman, Michael Aronov
  • 10 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 30 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 masterpiece that examines the proximity of terror and savagery to innocence and love. It is the first, and the most famous, novel by one of the most important and original writers of this century.

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What the Critics Say

"One of the best. . . . Written with deep sincerity and sensitivity." (Elie Wiesel, The New York Times Book Review)
"Extraordinary... literally staggering...one of the most powerful books I have ever read." (Harper’s magazine)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A guided tour of Hell.

This book is a harrowing experience from beginning to end, no question about it. It is an unrelentingly bleak cataloging of human cruelty. There are moments that are very hard to get through. Moments when you must stop and catch your breath before going on.

I was utterly taken aback by several scenes in the novel, horrors that I knew at once I would never forget. Here are depictions of depravity so raw and visceral they leave the reader virtually poleaxed; stunned and gasping.

And then, at the end, I was equally shocked by something Kosinski says in his brief afterword.

He mentions that at a family gathering some years after the publication of his novel, family members from Eastern Europe accused him of downplaying the atrocities that occurred in their villages. Downplaying indeed.

Be forewarned. This one is a tough listen. It is however, a remarkable novel and justifiably considered a classic not just of Holocaust literature but in the larger sense as well.

Darkly poetic. Starkly beautiful. Mesmerizing and brutal. It is difficult to look away once the novel's melancholy spell takes hold.

Fred Berman's narration seemed entirely appropriate to me. Lightly accented, but easily understandable. Never overdone; never distracting. All in all, a very good fit for an undeniably difficult but worthwhile listen.



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- Shawn

Too miserable for me

I liked the writer's style and especially enjoyed the surrealistic moments, and the narrator was odd but perfect for the piece. However...I had to stop listening at chapter 8. The litany of cruelty to innocence is just too miserable to me. I was thinking, "OK, I get it already!" and had two thirds of the novel yet to go...really didn't need to have any more animals tortured and children abused in depressing detail to get the point. Skip to the end...
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- Jen Terry

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-30-2010
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books