The Painted BirdBook
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The Painted Bird is a controversial 1965 novel by Jerzy Kosinski which describes World War II as seen by a boy, considered a "Gypsy or Jewish stray," wandering about small towns scattered around Eastern Europe. The story was originally introduced by Kosiński to Houghton Mifflin as autobiographical. It was only upon its publication that he quietly refrained from making such claims any further. Assumed by reviewers to be a memoir of a Jewish survivor and witness to the Holocaust telling the supposed true story of his futile search for his deported family, the book received enthusiastic reviews. However, within two decades it was discovered that the story was not only fictional but also plagiarized from popular books written in the Polish language, unknown to English readers. In a series of articles in newspapers and books which followed, it was revealed that Kosiński engaged in willful mystification in order to corroborate the claim of being separated from his family, and that he thus did not share any of the boy's experiences.
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