Gavriel Savit's Anna and the Swallow Man
The first thing I'm going to say is addressed to publisher marketing teams: don't compare a book to a really great and well-loved bestseller like The Book Thief, because the new book will not benefit from such heightened expectations. The second thing I'm going to say is that I definitely judge books set during WWII with a more jaundiced eye, because there are so many of them and they all want to be Important. So, I guess, take this review with several grains of salt. It's the story of a little girl in Poland in 1939, and what happens when her linguist father is taken away (they don't seem to be Jewish, so apparently for political reasons) and she encounters the mysterious Swallow Man and winds up accompanying him on his journeys. I feel like this is going for a dreamy fairy tale-ish vibe, but it also doesn't really shy away from the horrors of war, and particularly the horrors faced by a growing girl during war, so that didn't always mesh well for me. (Don't worry, the Swallow Man isn't rapey, but plenty of other men in this book are predatory, so warnings there.) I also kind of felt like the book just STOPPED, as opposed to ending. Seriously, what happened at the end? I was just left hanging. Ugh. Why was this book so over-hyped? It's not really satisfying at all. I mean, it's ok, but really. B.