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The Painted Bird

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  18,350 ratings  ·  1,315 reviews
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 sto
Paperback, 234 pages
Published August 9th 1995 by Grove Press (first published 1965)
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Nathaniel Winston The Epicurean conclusion; the world is just chaos and you can't trust God or superstition to save you.

The comet is just a symbol of violence.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,350 ratings  ·  1,315 reviews

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Paul Bryant
Mar 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Reading this one is like opening an oven door and the WHITE HOT BLAST OF HATRED from every page sears your flesh, scars your brain, and when you finish it you cram it shut with relief and throw it quickly into a box marked “Charity” although giving this to anyone would not be any kind of charitable act unless they need something to keep the fire going. What kind of a shitstorm do we have here?
For some reason I thought this was the story of a kid caught up in the Holocaust, i.e. a ghetto and co
Glenn Russell
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The cover of the Mass Market Paperback edition from the 1970s of The Painted Bird features a small section of Hieronymus Bosch hell-landscape -- dressed in sickly green and wearing a white hood, a creature with a man's body and head of a long-beaked bird walks on crutches carrying a large wicker basket on its back, and in the basket a small black devil with spiky fingers touches the shoulder of a wary young boy as he whispers into the boy's ear. This is an apt cover for Jerzy Kosinski's fictiona
Emily May
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Warning: I talk about a really gross and disturbing scene from the book in this review, please do not read if you're going to be upset and/or offended by talk of graphic sexual violence.

This book is one of my dad's favourite books of all time, I don't know how many years he's been telling me to read it now and we've always had similar opinions on books before. But The Painted Bird did not live up to my expectations and the whole idea of it just left a very bad taste in my mouth.

Pretty much anyon
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: slavic
The Real Spoils of War

In his Being There, Kosinski meditated on the consequences of being socialised entirely through television. The Painted Bird considers how a child might be socialised (if that doesn’t stretch the meaning of the word beyond its limits) to the chaos of war and the morally-deprived society in which it takes place. It’s not pretty.

(view spoiler)
Violet wells
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it
I read in the introduction that Kosinski was attacked on several occasions by Polish nationals after publishing this novel. This because it's a merciless mockery and indictment of Polish Catholics and in particular the peasantry. In the 19th century literature tended to romanticise rural communities. A stance that rarely quite rings true nowadays. This novel perhaps exaggerates to the other extreme. However, one of the most memorable images in The Shoah documentary is the Polish farmer showing h ...more
KamRun (نهنگ ٥٢ هرتز)
اگر حقیقت داشت که زنها و بچهها جزیی از دارایی اشتراکی خواهند بود، پس هر کودکی پدر و مادرهای زیاد و تعداد بیشماری خواهر و برادر خواهد داشت. چنین چیزی بیش از آن حد بود که انسان بدان چشم بدوزد: تعلق داشتن به همه! قرار بود هرکجا که میروم پدرهای فراوان با دستهای قوی و اطمینانبخش سرم را نوازش کنند و مادرهای بیشماری مرا در آغوش بکشند و برادران بزرگ بیشمار از من در مقابل دندان سگها دفاع کنند

پرواز را بخاطر بسپار داستان تیرهروزیهای قربنانیان همیشهی جهالت و تعصب و جنگ است: کودکان. راوی داستان کودک شش، هفت
Bookcase Jim
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
After reading some of the reviews on here, I'm hoping that this will bring some sanity to the steaming heaps of hyperbole. Comparisons to the Saw films, torture porn, and complaints that the violence was simply all too gratuitous are the backbone of reviews that completely miss the point and should be dismissed out of hand.

"The purpose of a picaresque narrative is to present to the reader a picture of society and societal involvement that one would otherwise rather ignore, not all truths being
Oguz Akturk
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Bu kitap beni neden bu kadar rahatsız etti?" sorusunun cevabı :

Kan rengine boyanmak!

Şubat 2014. İkinci Dünya Savaşı'nın 70 yıl sonrası.

Polonya'nın Oświęcim şehrindeki Auschwitz Birkenau toplama kampında dolaşıyorum. Soğuktan nefesim donuyor. Aynı doğduğum yeri hayatımın en başında belirleyemediğim gibi Auschwitz Birkenau'da da nefesimin soğuktan donup donmamasını belirleyemiyordum. Esirlerin kaldığı koğuşların içerisinde geziniyordum fakat bu koğuşların benim bugüne
Nickolas the Kid
Nov 05, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
Ένα αρκετά περίεργο και σκληρό βιβλίο είναι το “To Βαμμένο Πουλί»… Ο συγγραφέας περιγράφει το αιματοβαμμένο οδοιπορικό ενός μικρού Τσιγγάνου/Εβραίου στα χωριά της Πολωνίας κατά την διάρκεια του ΒΠΠ.
Το παράδοξο με αυτό το βιβλίο είναι ότι περιγράφει την σκληρότητα και την απανθρωπιά, μέσα από τα μάτια ένος μικρού αγοριού, όχι του πολέμου, αλλά των ανθρώπων που τον βιώνουν ως τραγικοί κομπάρσοι…
Ο μικρός ήρωας γυρνάει από χωριό σε χωρίο και διαπιστώνει πως το να είναι κανείς διαφορετικός σε χρώμα
Oct 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
Human depravity in the extreme - this book in a nutshell.

Before you pick up this book, think twice. The author originally said it was autobiographical. It is now classified as fiction. IF it were autobiographical it would be easier to swallow; you'd think that is just plain what happened. The book is incredibly difficult to read. It is surreal in tone, filled with graphic sexuality and violence. What is delivered is man at his worst told in such a way as to make the reader cringe. To what purpos
Bülent Özgün
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Kosiński, kitabın sonundaki yazısında şöyle diyor:

Belki de Boyalı Kuş'un içindeki vahşet sahnelerinin abartılmadığının en iyi kanıtı ve bu dehşet zamanının savaş yılları Doğu Avrupa'sını yansıttığını en iyi anlatan olay, eski okulumdan bazı arkadaşlarımın Boyalı Kuş'un kaçak bazı kopyalarını okuduktan sonra romanın kendilerinin ve akrabalarının yaşadıklarının yanında pastoral bir öykü gibi kalacağını söylemeleriydi.

Kosiński'nin hem 2. Dünya Savaşı sırasında hem de kitap yayınlandıktan sonra
نقد روز
رمان پرنده رنگین (این رمان با عنوان پرواز را به خاطر بسپار به فارسی ترجمه شده است) اثر یرژی کوشینسکی، داستان کودک بیپناهی را روایت میکند که در میان روستاهای متروک اروپای شرقی تحت اشغال نازیها، سرگردان است. این رمان، داستان جدال و کشمکشی مایوسانه برای زنده ماندن در جهانی بیرحم را به تصویر میکشد، جهانی که ترس و وحشت جنگ، ایدئولوژی نازیها و هولوکاست بر خشونت، ترس و احساس ناامنی موجود میافزاید.

در میان مایوس کنندهترین ویژگیهای اخلاقی این جهان، ظرفیت شیطانی موجود در تقریبا تمامی ساکنین آن، بیش از هر چ
Jun 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The officer surveyed me sharply. I felt like a squashed caterpillar oozing in the dust, a creature that could not harm anyone yet aroused loathing and disgust. In the presence of such a resplendent being, armed in all the symbols of might and majesty, I was genuinely ashamed of my appearance. I had nothing against his killing me.

Much as Nietzsche detonated a shaped charge and blew away all hope of a totalizing meta-narrative, it was books like The Painted Bird which left me ashamed, almost perma
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: polónia, bib-l
Quando Hitler invade a Polónia e começa a selecionar população para os campos de concentração, um casal tenta salvar o filho deixando-o com uma idosa numa aldeia miserável no meio da floresta.
A porta de fuga tornou-se a porta de entrada num mundo de horror tão cruel quanto os guetos nazis.
Quando a mulher morre num incêndio, ele parte sozinho e aqui começa a saga de perseguição e fuga, deambulando de aldeia em aldeia por entre a floresta, procurando abrigo e, sobretudo, aceitação e algum carinho.
Lᴀʏᴀ Rᴀɴɪ #BookDiet2019
On deciding for the title of this novel, writer Jerzy Kosinki was inspired by the symbolic use of birds in literature which "allowed certain people to deal with actual events and characters without the restrictions which the writing of history imposes". He states that there was a certain peasant custom he witnessed as a child before in which he describes it as follows:

"One of the villagers' favorite entertainment was trapping birds, painting their feathers, and then releasing them in the air to
Apr 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cultured, warfare, mmix
This review is serving as a spiritual tug of war. The Battle of the Conscious. I really don’t know what to think. I hesitate between 2 and 3 stars and Yeah, I know… I’m a heartless bitch. The guilt tells me to rate it higher because of all the persecution and just plain ol’ Horrors that this kid dealt with. As if I’ve lost some humanity if I don’t appreciate this more. But… another part of me is just not feeling it.

It sort of feels like rubbernecking.

Like, it starts off right away with explodi
Lisa Vegan
Jul 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all interested in holocaust literature, anyone who doesn't need to avoid disturbing books
I read an earlier edition than this. I’ve read many, many holocaust era books and I’d already read quite a few when I read this one. And this says a lot, but this one might be the most horrifying one of them all. This was one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read and yet I loved the book. I read it thinking it was non-fiction; years after I read it, I read that it was fiction, but that doesn’t diminish at all the impact I feel from reading it. It’s truly amazing what people can do to each ...more
Bloody Mary
Ο συγγραφέας έγραψε ότι η δυτική κριτική αντιμετώπισε με αμηχανία αυτό το βιβλίο του. Κι εγώ δεν θα αποτελέσω εξαίρεση. Από το να δώσω αμήχανα και μουδιασμένα δυτικά αστεράκια, θα προτιμήσω να μην το βαθμολογήσω καν.
Πρόκειται για ένα θεοσκότεινο βιβλίο. Έχει τόση ωμή βία που το game of thrones και το κουρδιστό πορτοκάλι μοιάζουν παραμυθάκια μπροστά του, τόση σεξουαλική διαστροφή που θα ζήλευε και το nip tuck και τόσες αναφερόμενες δεισιδαιμονίες και προκαταλήψεις που η Hannah Kent δεν θα έβλεπε
Yuri Kruman
May 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Let fools argue about Kosiński's biography and "authenticity" of experience. His supreme ability to tell a child's horrific coming-of-age story in rural Nazi-controlled Poland, where the peasants are just as gruesomely sadistic, with adult credibility and moral authority without overreaching or sentimentality, is a dark and bittersweet triumph of humanity and then also of literature.

IMHO, the book was not written as an invective against Polish peasants or Nazis alone, any more than it is solely
Nate D
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
The undiminished, unending nightmarish brutality of this novel might become an exercise in repetition and gratuity, were it not for undiminished horror contained in its subjects, taken both narrowly (the holocaust) and more broadly (the bottomless capacity of humans to inflict atrocities upon other humans). Early phantasmagoric and folkloric aspects and presentation as a series of episodic 'fables' creates an expectation of the hope/fear rhythms of a fairytale, but the first side of that equatio ...more
Feb 22, 2011 rated it liked it
The night before last, I fell asleep holding my laptop, while on the couch. I could have sworn I had saved my work, which just so happened to be a review for this book, but upon logging onto Goodreads today I noticed that I did not have a review for The Painted Bird. Every time I am certain I have everything planned out in terms of writing and posting reviews, I do something stupid, such as falling asleep with my computer. Sadly, falling asleep while contemplating and discussing a book does not ...more
The Crimson Fucker
Dec 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
The first rock thrown again
Welcome to hell, little Saint
Mother Gaia in slaughter
Welcome to paradise, Soldier

Is all BS! All of it! We a failure as a society, as a species, as individuals! We suck! There’s no way in hell anybody can convince me other wise! You know why? Cuz like millions of years ago some sort of ameba divided itself in 2... You know what the first thing it did when It separated itself? It attacked the other weaker part… and that’s what we been doing for fucking millions of years
Jack Tripper

Here's the cover of the 1970 Pocket mass-market I just picked up (213 pages). Though I'll have to wait til I'm in the mood for something soul-shatteringly depressing. Or so I hear.
I have no idea what the hell to make of this.

A catalog of horrors, unflinching, hammering them into your skull. The main character is totally broken. You yourself almost become disillusioned, and almost used to violence and shit and horror.

A frightening book.
Nov 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 5e, n-polonia
Ler, para mim, é como viver uma vida paralela sendo os livros as pessoas que caminham ao meu lado nessa vida.
E, tal como as pessoas, há livros que passam por mim e nem levemente me tocam, outros ficam comigo para sempre. Por norma, ficam aqueles que me proporcionaram um convívio mais prazeiroso, mas há outros, que de tão especiais e únicos, também ficam, apesar de me terem destroçado o coração.

“O Pássaro Pintado” é um livro único, pungente, cuja leitura me torturou mas que nunca esquecerei. Um
MJ Nicholls
Senryu Review:

A wartime childhood
of persecution and pain
in fable-like prose.
Feb 01, 2016 marked it as not-to-read
From some reviews:
A white hot blast of hatred
A shitstorm
A macabre fairy-tale
Too heavy to bear
A catalog of horrors
A sadean pornography

Thanks but no thanks
Timothy Urges
From God’s point of view it seemed to make more sense if everyone lost the war, since everyone was committing murder.
João Carlos
6 Estrelas Pintadas - "The Painted Bird" - Book Opening by Bob

“I am going to put myself to sleep now for a bit longer than usual. Call it Eternity.” – esta é a frase da nota de suicídio de Jerzy Kosinski (1933-1991), encontrado morto a 3 de Maio de 1991, na sua casa de Manhattan, nos Estados Unidos da América, depois de ter ingerido uma quantidade letal de comprimidos e álcool e ter envolvido um saco plástico em volta da sua cabeça.
Com a publicação do cont
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

kurgu olduguna sukrettigim, kurgu olmama ihtimalini dusunmek dahi istemedigim ve 2. dunya savasinin arka planinda neler yasandigina dair cok uc ornekleri barindirdigina inandigim bi roman oldu boyali kus. kurgu veya gercegin ta kendisi...
her halukarda o donem yasanan cilginligin boyutlarini fazlasiyla anlayabilmemizi sagliyor ve ne yazik ki gercekte yasanan acilarin, kurgusal olanlardan daha az olmadigi ve hatta gercekte olanlarin kurgusal olandan daha inanilmaz oldugu gercegini degistirmiyor.

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Kosiński was born Josef Lewinkopf to Jewish parents in Łódź, Poland. As a child during World War II, he lived in central Poland under a false identity his father gave him to use, Jerzy Kosiński. A Roman Catholic priest issued him a forged baptismal certificate. The Kosiński family survived the Holocaust thanks to local villagers, who offered assistance to Jewish Poles often at great personal risk ...more
“There's a place beyond words where experience first occurs to which I always want to return. I suspect that whenever I articulate my thoughts or translate my impulses into words, I am betraying the real thoughts and impulses which remain hidden.” 64 likes
“It seems that what I really want is a drug that will increase my consciousness of others, not myself.” 46 likes
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