- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 11 hours and 36 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Audible.com Release Date: September 21, 2011
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005OLXNZ4
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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22 Britannia Road
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is vividly written and has complexity to the plot that continues to draw you in right up until the last chapter. The long lasting effects of war on people are brilliantly portrayed in the story. In post war Britain, the couple has every advantage- an intact family, a house, a car, a good job - but the lingering effects of what happened to them during the war destroy their chances to go forward. The son has been deeply influenced by his time in the forests avoiding both Germans and Russians and living off the land. In one scene his father shows him how to collect and save birds eggs and the boy can only think of how he wants to eat the eggs contents as he did so often in the forests. He has a particularly difficult time socializing and entering into normal relationships. It was heartbreaking and at times almost too sad to bear. In the end though this story is a triumph of the human spirit over adversity.
I agree with another reviewer here who noted that Janusz' time spent wandering around Europe before finally getting to England seems far-fetched. Janusz seems quite amenable to staying put wherever he lands and sitting out the war - first the goose woman's cottage, then Helene's parents' farm - he seems quite weak and easily lead and just goes along. Granted, his life has been totally turned upside down, but I don't get the impression he's burning to fight for his country, or to see his wife and child again, or to do much of anything, except have an affair with Helene.Read more ›
There are at least three layers to the story here, and I am not sure that they benefit by being laid on top of one another. One is the simple immigrant story that has been told many times, with different specifics (Andrea Levy's SMALL ISLAND being one magnificent example): what is it like to make a new life in a strange country, especially one beset by rationing, austerity measures, and labor unrest? Amanda Hodgkinson handles this effectively and without fuss. I could imagine Silvana's difficulties with the neighbors and the shops, Aurek's problems at school, and Janusz' determination to make a proper English home. I could imagine them, but not truly feel them in my gut; Hodgkinson's descriptions seem accurate rather than achingly personal.
The second layer was the one that moved me most: how people come back together after a separation. Janusz and Silvana were only just married when Aurek was born, and had hardly been tested as a couple. They are separated at the start of the war under circumstances where neither even knows that the other is alive. Now, six years later, they come together almost as strangers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Did not like the back-and-forth, Poland to Norwich to Poland to Norwich style of the narrative. Would have liked.more continuity.Published 4 months ago by Arthur W. Brodeur
I really enjoyed this book. The characters were superb, and it moved along at a good pace to keep one interested.Published 6 months ago by Linda Aquilano
Do broken hearts and souls ever mend? This story does not try to pretend that they do, but it does bring the story of three damaged lives to amicable conclusion. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Vivien
Not a soul searcher. That being said, if you like WW II fiction, you will like this story.Published 8 months ago by shoe fan
A very sad story, with only a glimmer of hope at the end.Published 9 months ago by S. Walkden-Davis