Saturday, April 16, 2011

Escape from Warsaw

Historical fiction - or rather, 20th century war stories - are my special interest. Because of my family's personal history, perhaps I'm genetically-programmed to being obsessed with this dark past. There's no shortage of books on the subject, so I know I'm not alone with this interest. A family member said to me recently, why don't you just forget about the past. It's not healthy. Perhaps, it's not. But when I go visit my mom in the nursing home, and I see all these old people, I can't help but imagine what they've seen, who they once were, and where they come from. Life is about so much more than the present - unless you're a dog, of course.

That preamble was to justify my reading of yet another war novel. Escape from Warsaw - a mid grade novel by Ian Serraillier - was first published in the UK in 1956 with the title, The Silver Sword. In 1957 it was turned into an eight-part children's TV series by the BBC.

I've been doing background reading for an adult novel I'm working on and know so little about Poland. While I prefer reading non-fiction as research, I also enjoy learning about narrator techniques in novel-writing. It is, after-all, point-of-view that determines the story.

Escape from Warsaw (or The Silver Sword) is primarily an adventure story. Four children leave Warsaw in the search for their parents in Switzerland. The war has just ended and Europe is in shambles. While not rich in character, the novel does reveal an important aspect of war - families were torn apart and homes did no longer exist. Children were often without adults, and had to survive on their on. I imagine when this aired on TV - a mere ten years after the war had ended - that there would have been an intense interest.

5 comments:

Veronica Leigh said...

Well, even if you tackled a different subject, you wouldn't be as satisfied in the outcome. Following your calling and your heart.

I just read "The Silver Sword/Escape from Warsaw" last week! I loved it and enjoyed it immensely. I didn't know it was made into a miniseries. I'll have to check that out.

I know of a couple of fictional books set in Poland. Some I have read, some I haven't. Do you want me to post them?

Gabriele Goldstone said...

Sure, I'd love to check out more books set in Poland.
Thanks for stopping by. And interesting how we both read that 1956 book in the same 2011 week.

Veronica Leigh said...

Yes, what a coincidence that we would read it the same week!


Here is the list of books. Hope it helps!

A hero and the holocaust: the story of Janusz Korczak and his children- David A. Adler

Dancing with Dziadziu- Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Annika Nelson

Jakob the Liar- Jurek Becker

The Champion of Children: The Story of Janusz Korczak- Tomek Bogacki

Florian's Gate- T Davis Bunn

Bread upon the waters- Anne de Graaf

Out of the red shadow- Anne de Graaf

Jacob's Rescue- Malka Drucker

The Journey- Ida Fink


A Father's Promise- Donna L. Hess

The cats in Krasinski Square- Karen Hesse

The Creche of Krakow: A Christmas Story- Harvey Hirsch, Audrey Hirsch, Martha Weston

Night of Flames: A Novel of World War II- Douglas W. Jacobson

The Painted Bird- Jerzy Kosinski

The true story of Hansel and Gretel- Louise Murphey


The island on Bird Street- Uri Orlev

The man from the other side- Uri Orlev

Run, Boy, Run- Uri Orlev, Hillel Halkin

Aniela Kaminski's Story: A Voyage from Poland During World War II (Journey to America)- Clare Pastore

Simon's Escape: A Story of the Holocaust- Bonnie Pryor

Gabriele Goldstone said...

Wow! Thanks for this, Veronica. I'm sad to say, the only one I recognize is the Karen Hesse one. I have a lot of reading to do! (I love it!!)

zamre said...

reading book..
Zamre Bin Ab. Wahab