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22 Britannia Road: A Novel by Amanda…
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22 Britannia Road: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Amanda Hodgkinson (Author)

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6825614,002 (3.66)75
Member:labfs39
Title:22 Britannia Road: A Novel
Authors:Amanda Hodgkinson (Author)
Info:Penguin Books (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:fiction, WWII

Work details

22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson

  1. 10
    The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Both novels deal with Eastern Europe during WWII and with the stress that war and separation puts on a marriage.
  2. 00
    Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  3. 00
    The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman (LynnB)
    LynnB: Deals with losing/finding a child.
  4. 00
    Far to Go by Alison Pick (Roro8)
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Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
This is the tale of a Polish couple and their son, torn apart by WWII, and of their struggles during the war and afterwards when they are reunited in England. It is told in a nonlinear fashion, covering both the war years and the reunion period, and each time period is further subdivided with sections covering each parent's perspective. In any case, this one started out well, but it took little time for me to start to dislike the wife and child and little time for me to realize that the author doesn't seem to realize that "relentlessly dysfunctional" does not equate with "entertaining." I am interested in imperfect people far more than near-perfect ones, and broken people in the process of healing can make for good fiction. But there are limits, and there were times in this one when I truly wanted to see the wife die in a fire. Yes, they're all survivors, and yes, they were all traumatized by the war. But again, there are limits. The husband, however, has the patience of Job here and is pretty much the only one of the three family members who didn't drive me crazy on an hourly basis as I was reading. In short, this one has a decent premise and it had a lot of potential, but it chose to focus on the very things that I dislike the most in people, whether real or fictional. The ending redeemed things somewhat, but it was still an overall disappointment, given my hopes at the outset. ( )
  jimgysin | Jun 19, 2017 |
Audiobook narrated by Robin Sachs

At the end of World War II, Silvana and her seven-year-old son Aurek board a ship that will take them to England, where her husband, Janusz, waits for them. As the war escalated, he had joined the Polish Army, leaving his wife and infant son behind. Then Warsaw was bombed and Silvana fled to the forest with Aurek. Now he has settled in England. He wants nothing more than for them to become a proper English family, with a normal life in the small house at 22 Britannia Road.

Hodgkinson’s debut novel is beautifully told. The war has affected all of them, and they each bear secrets that lead to misunderstandings and feelings of distrust. How these damaged people struggle to become a family once again forms the central theme of the book.

I was engaged and interested in the story from beginning to end. Hodgkinson divides her chapters by location/time and by character, telling parallel stories: Poland during the war, England after the war. I liked how she used this technique to slowly reveal to the reader what Silvana and Janusz endured during their years apart. The choices they made carry consequences they dare not share with one another. And yet, they must find the love they once shared and nurture it, for themselves as individuals, for their child, and for their family.

Aurek fascinated me. When he and Silvana arrive in England he is understandably clingy. Janusz knows they lived in the forest for a time, but he’s not prepared for a son who hoards food, and doesn’t know how to tie his shoes or even how to sleep in a bed. Silvana tells Aurek again and again that they are safe, that Janusz is his father and loves him. But Aurek learned to be suspicious of men during their time in the forest, and he thinks of Janusz as “the enemy.”

Robin Sachs does an excellent job narrating the audiobook. He has good pacing and clearly differentiated the characters. I was never confused about who was speaking or what time frame I was in. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jun 4, 2017 |
I had to switch to the audio book since I had to return my book club book. I was almost finished and I am glad I finished the book. I loved the story of Silvana and Janusz and their ordeal before, during and after World War II.

This story goes from before World War II, to during World War II to after World War II. It continues going from the present to past and finding out the things each one went through. Silvana being left alone while Janusz goes off to defend Poland. She is left with their little boy in Warsaw. Janusz tells her to head to his parents house.

Janusz goes on the train to join the Polish army and we find out what he goes through during the war. Their experiences shape them and change them that when they finally find each other they have secrets they are afraid to share with one another. They are going to try and make a new life for themselves in England. ( )
  crazy4reading | Apr 21, 2017 |
This was a very interesting story with very clever and unexpected twists. The relationships are explored sensitively and realistically for the most part. ( )
  rosiezbanks | Oct 29, 2016 |
After 6 hard years, Janusz and Silvanna are reunited in their new home, England with their son, Aurek. They are refugees from Poland after WWII and cannot go back to their homeland. Both trying to cope with secrets of the war, they are finally trying to live as a family again. However, the demons that live inside them, and Jan's want to have the perfect English family and the perfect English son, drives them apart and makes it hard for Silvanna to cope with her new surroundings.

***CONTAINS SPOILERS***

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was one that I would recommend to anyone that really enjoys this time period. I didn't see her secret coming really. The author just kind of zoomed right over it in the flashbacks, but when she went back over it, its kind of obvious and made you think of how a child would have survived an explosion like that.
( )
  welkeral | Mar 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
Successfully weaving three narrative strands and three different viewpoints is a challenge to any novelist, let alone a tyro, but it's one that Amanda Hodgkinson meets with accomplishment. She intersperses the wartime past with the present in a series of tense, sharply observed scenes: the couple's first meeting, in 1937; the blissful early days of their marriage in Warsaw; the birth of their beloved child....Although the English neighbours are a little stereotypical, the strength of this novel lies in its characters. The Nowaks are tenderly and imaginatively evoked, and the glamorous Italian black marketeer whose young son befriends Aurek is a magnificent creation. Silvana is utterly individual; one doesn't sympathise with some of her prickly or naive reactions, but one is forced to understand them and to long for her happiness. The ending does not disappoint.

 
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The dead have need of fairy tales too -- Zbigniew Herbert
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To my mother and father. With love.
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The boy was everything to her.
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Book description
In her powerful debut, Hodgkinson takes on the tale of a family desperately trying to put itself back together after WWII. Silvana and Janusz have only been married a few months when the war forces them apart. Silvana and their infant son, Aurek, leave Poland and disappear into the forests of Eastern Europe, where they bear witness to German atrocities. Meanwhile Janusz, the sole survivor of his slaughtered military unit, flees to France. There, he takes up with a local girl and, though he loves her, awaits the war's end so that he can go in search of his wife and son. He eventually finds them in a refugee camp and they travel to England together, where they attempt to put the past behind them. But the secrets they carry pull at the threads of their fragile peace. Hodgkinson alternates viewpoints to relay the story of three desperate characters, skillfully toggling between the war and its aftermath with wonderfully descriptive prose that pulls the reader into a sweeping tale of survival and redemption.
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In this tale of a Polish family desperately trying to put itself back together after WWII, Silvana and Janusz travel to England where they attempt to put the past behind them. But the secrets they carry pull at the threads of their fragile peace.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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