Dorotairena's Reviews > The Painted Bird

The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosiński
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May 19, 09

Read in May, 1987

This is very difficult book, no matter where you come from. Just because the subject is difficult it is not a good reason to reject the book. Life is difficult and people can be cruel to each other. Just look around.
The author often commented that he wrote "auto-fiction" -- he mixed up reality with fantasy and imagination. I do not object to it, just the opposite. The blurring creates a work that may give you some sleepless night but so what. The book details human cruelty and coping skills. It is a testament to the human spirit, especially if you place it in the context of WWII in Europe, the author's life story. He surely had a very difficult childhood, how can you be not affected by what you know and hear about? Even if you do not experience it yourself.
One of the earlier editions had a fragment of a painting by Bosch on it - perhaps it was the Last Judgement section, Very appropriate and like Bosch, Kosinski often mixed reality and imagination. If you examine Bosch's fantastic paintings (frightening at times) you will understand how blurred this line is.
A great book but not an easy read. If you read it, you will not forget it.
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