Cover image for The painted bird
The painted bird
Kosinski, Jerzy, 1933-1991.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Grove Press ; [Emeryville, CA] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, [1995]

Physical Description:
xxvi, 234 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
""Grove Press paperback edition"--T.p. verso.
Reading Level:
980 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC High School 9 17 Quiz: 20284 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Originally published in 1965, The Painted Bird established Jerzy Kosinski as a major literary figure. Kosinski's story follows a dark-haired, olive-skinned boy, abandoned by his parents during World War II, as he wanders alone from one village to another, sometimes hounded and tortured, only rarely sheltered and cared for. Through the juxtaposition of adolescence and the most brutal of adult experiences, Kosinski sums up a Bosch-like world of harrowing excess where senseless violence and untempered hatred are the norm. Through sparse prose and vivid imagery, Kosinski's novel is a story of mythic proportion, even more relevant to today's society than it was upon its original publication.

Author Notes

Jerzy Kosinski was born in Lodz, Poland on June 8, 1933. In 1939, he was separated from his family when the Nazi's invaded Poland and he wandered through villages for six years, surviving by his wits. In shock, he remained mute from the age of nine to fourteen. He was finally reunited with his family. He moved to the United States in 1957.

His first novel, The Painted Bird, was published in 1965 and received France's Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger. His second novel, Steps, won the National Book Award in 1969. His other novels included Being There, The Devil Tree, Cockpit, and Blind Date. Blind Date tells the story of the Manson killings, which is where he would have been if he had not been stuck in JFK Airport dealing with improperly tagged luggage. He committed suicide on May 3, 1991 at the age of 57.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Dark eyed and dark haired, a ten-year-old boy, separated from his parents, is labeled an outsider and abused and shunned by the Polish villagers among whom he seeks refuge. (Ja 1 66)