The painted bird
Number of pages
The story takes place in Eastern Europe. This is because the main character (A boy who's name isn't been said) travels a lot trough different towns. The names of the towns aren't named either.
The story takes place during the war (World War 2). It begins in 1939 when the war begins.
The main character stays at a town, at Lekh's. Lekh is a birdcatcher. He has the custom to paint the birds he catches. When he releases the bird, the other birds always attack that bird and kill it. The boy feels connected to this painted bird.
I-person: This is the nameless main character. He tells the whole story when he is six years old his parents send him to a distant town (names of cities and places are not named in this story). He lost contact with his parents. He is constantly teased because he is different. He has dark hair and brown eyes. The people of a town think he is the child of the devil. Mentally he is very strong because he survives several attempts on his life.
Kosinsky shows how very backward East Europe is. He shows the experiences of a boy during the war. These experiences are often not very plesant (violence, sadism, incest).
The part I liked best was the part with the priest and the man Garbos. It was a part with a lot of violence but it reads very easy and I could imagine I very good.
The part I liked less was the beginning of the story with Marta. I had to come in the story and it wasn't very exciting. I even thought of putting the book away but I didn't.
I thought the book was very good. It was easy to read and it has some very thrilling parts. The words used are not very difficult and the story hasn't got "a se-cond layer". The book gives a good view of the feelings and thoughts of the boy.
In 1939 the boy is six years old. He lives with his parents in a big city in a land in the east of Europe. The war begins and his parents send the boy to the east of the country. His parent did this because they had to go in hiding. The boy is watched after because he looks different and speaks different to.
First of all he goes to Marta. She is an old lady and has some strange customs like washing once or twice a year. She never smiled at the boy because he would see her teeth and for every tooth he counted, she would loose a year of her life. Marta had all kinds of animals, even a snake. One morning when he wanted to light a lamp he spilled some kerosine of the floor. The whole house was on fire and Marta in it (she was already dead). The boy leaves the village and goes to the forest.
He finds another village. One family wants to have him for entertainment. Then the boy is taken by Olga the wise. He becomes her servant and she learns him a lot about plant and homeopathy. There were no doctors or hospitals. Olga suspects the boy of being a vampier. One morning a lot of peasants are trying to catch a big fish in the river. Suddenly a peasant throws the boy on bladder in the river. The boy floated away and never returns.
The boy is now living at a miller named Jealous. The miller has a servant. He suspects his servant is having a sexual relation with his wife. He beats her up sever-al times. On a very clear night the miller gets drunk and he puts a spoon in the eyes of the servant. The boy wonders if the servant is better now because he can't see the misery in the world.
The boy arrives at Lekh's house. Lekh is the bird catcher that paints all the birds he catches. Lekh is in love with the stupid Ludmina. She is stupid since she was raped. Now she lives in the woods with her dog. Ludmina couldn't be satisfied by the men she had, even Lekh. When she doesn't return to Lekh for a while he gets a bit crazy. People laught about him. Suddenly Ludmina comes back to the village and she rapes the boy. The boy starts screaming. The men of the village notice this and come to Ludmina for sex. The women of the village notice it to and they know what their men are up to. They beat up Ludmina. Although Lekh tries to protect her, she dies and he is struck down to.
Then the boy comes at a carpenter. The carpenter thinks that the boy attracts bad weather so when it's bad weather he puts the boy in the field. One night it's bad weather but the boy isn't outside. The cabin bursts into fire. The boy manages to escape again. Some days later he is recognised by a man and he warns the carpen-ter. When the carpenter arrives, the boy is taken in prison. The boy says he knows a place where he found some very nice things. He found them during his escape. The carpenter doesn't believe him but he is very curious, so he decides to good and have a look. When the boy and the carpenter stand in front of the bunker the boy pushes the cartenter inside. In the bunker were thousands of rats. The man fell and the rats came crawling all over him. They ate the carpenter and the boy could escape, again.
The boy passes a village where he can stay at the blacksmiths house. Sometimes the village is visited by some partisans. At one night the boy is taken by the parti-sans. A soldier gets orders to shoot the boy and burn him. The boy and the soldier go to the forest to execute the boy. The soldier can't kill the boy so he lets him go and fakes the execution.
The winter come and nobody wants to have the boy in house because he's an extra mouth to feed. When the boy is walking through the forest he finds a horse with a broken leg. He brings the horse back to the owner who now feels obliged to help the boy. The farmer takes the boy to several receptions where he has to tell all kinds of stories and poems. At one reception he is the witness of a brutal murder. As the boy walked through the forest he found fuses and some other munitions. At a Sunday he is teased by some peasants-boys and the boy beats one of the boys up. All the people of the village wanted to kill the boy. The boy graps the fuses and the house exploded. The boy could fled.
In the forest The boy meets a man who lives in a house in a village near the rail-road. A lot of trains with Jewish people pass by and some Jews try to escape by jumping of the train. When another train passes by a girl jumps off. She goes to the villages where Rainbow, a man whose wife died, takes her in his house and cures her. That night the boy hears screaming and goes out to see what it was. When he look through a window he sees Rainbow raping the girl. Later Rainbow tells a whole other story.
Some German soldiers came searching for partisans so the boy had to go to the forest. Later he is caught and taken prison with another man. The soldiers take them to the village where people throw stones to them. The boy meets a SS-general. The old man is killed because he said "pig" to the general. The priest takes the boy with him to take care for during the war. The boy is placed by a horrible man called Garbos and his dog Judas. He beats the boy a lot. The priest takes the boy to church where he learned some thing about god and the bible. Some months later the priest dies and the punishments of Garbos became more violent. These punish-ments take over a year and the boy is now ten years old. One of the altar boys gets sick so the boy had to take his place. He thought it was going to be the beginning of a new life, but he was wrong. He fell during the ceremony and all the people thought he was a " gipsy vampier ". The throw him in the mire and he almost drown. The boy gets out of the mire but he lost his voice.
The boy is placed at another farmer, Makar. Makar has a son, Anton and a daughter, Ewka. His wife died and nobody from the village likes Makar or his chil-dren. Makar and Anton sexually abuse Ewka. Ewka likes the boy very much and they get a relation. Makar has a lot of goats and rabbits and asks the boy to kill Makars favourite rabbit. When he was cutting of the skin of the rabbit, the rabbit come to life again. Makar hears screaming and comes to the boy. He kills the rabbit with an axe. Now he can't sell the skin because of the blood. Makar gets angry and hits the boy. That night he goes to the house to see Ewka and he see her, but not the way he likes. He sees her having sex with a goat and Makar is watching. The boy decides to go to another village.
In the next village he meets Labina. Labina is a beautifull woman. A lot of men come every night to have sex with her. In the village a horrible punitive expedition takes place. This expedition was done by Kalmuks. Then the Red Army comes and kill all the Kalmuks. The boy makes new friend, Mitka and Gravila. They learned him a lot of the comunism.
The boy wants to stay at the Red Army but the authorities send him to an orphana-ge. The two boy promise him that they will pick him up after the war. In the orphana-ge is a lot of violence. He is afraid to fall asleep because they could do some jokes on him.
Then one day the boy is taken out of his class.The boy's parents are there and they want to take him home. The boy hesitates because he wants to wait for Gravila and Mirka. The boy goes with his parents to an apartment but the doctors think a little fresh air and some exercise is good for the boy. The family goes on a holiday to the mountains and when the boy is skiing, he comes in a blizzard. The boy falls. Through this fall he gets his voice back.
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