22 Britannia Road

22 Britannia Road

Book - 2011
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A tour de force that echoes modern classics like Suite Francaise and The Postmistress .

"Housekeeper or housewife?" the soldier asks Silvana as she and eight- year-old Aurek board the ship that will take them from Poland to England at the end of World War II. There her husband, Janusz, is already waiting for them at the little house at 22 Britannia Road. But the war has changed them all so utterly that they'll barely recognize one another when they are reunited. "Survivor," she answers.

Silvana and Aurek spent the war hiding in the forests of Poland. Wild, almost feral Aurek doesn't know how to tie his own shoes or sleep in a bed. Janusz is an Englishman now-determined to forget Poland, forget his own ghosts from the way, and begin a new life as a proper English family. But for Silvana, who cannot escape the painful memory of a shattering wartime act, forgetting is not a possibility.

One of the most searing debuts to come along in years, 22 Britannia Road . is the wrenching chronicle of how these damaged people try to become, once again, a true family. An unforgettable novel that cries out for discussion, it is a powerful story of primal maternal love, overcoming hardship, and, ultimately, acceptance-one that will pierce your heart.
Publisher: New York :, Pamela Dorman Books/Viking,, 2011.
ISBN: 9780670022632
Branch Call Number: FIC HODG
Characteristics: 323 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Twenty-two Britannia Road


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Jul 21, 2019

This is the story of a Polish husband, wife and son who are separated for six years during WWII - under horrific conditions for the wife and son - and are reunited and rebuilding a life together in England. Hodgkinson is a competent writer, but not particularly insightful. The only portions that were elevated to something unique and special were the sections (way too few) told from the point of view of Aurek, the somewhat inhuman, creature-like son. The story pretty much kept my attention while reading, but it will all be forgotten by the end of the week.

Mar 20, 2016

As an audio book. Parts of this felt so slow & for me, often not able to 'put it together' as a story - I kept falling asleep:(. Robin Sachs is/was an excellent reader, yet the changing of locations & time periods still confused me. If I want to figure this out I'll have to read the book. I don't doubt the scenarios so many endured during this time period.

WVMLStaffPicks Jun 04, 2013

Behind the doors of a “proper English home, complete with garden in the back” a Polish couple try to reconnect after separate harrowing experiences during the war. After seven years apart, Janusz and Silvana, along with their son, struggle to become a family again.

Apr 10, 2012

Meet the Nowaks?Silvana, Janusz and their son Aurek?who have come to live at 22 Britannia Road in Ipswich, England after WWII. Earlier this winter I read Ben Shephard?s The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War. Hodgkinson?s literary debut about displaced Silvana and Aurek who come from Poland to England to join RAF veteran Janusz is probably a more true-to-life tale than we know. Such heartbreak, such secrets. I won?t forget these characters?survivors in the truest sense?soon. A masterful novel of finding ?home.?

Nov 26, 2011

A very well-done story about PTSD as a couple readjust to a world after war. Both husband and wife, in their own different ways, fought the battles of Poland during WWII and then are reunited to create a post war marriage. Very unique look at what it must really be like...

Oct 27, 2011

I love that book very much. I picked that from the " What's new" shelf, and never regretted that.

6 years of separation is really uneasy for a couple.

I nearly had my tears ( but happy ones ) for the ending.

It will be very lovely if we have those nice, caring and supportive neighbours these days!

Melbergo Sep 30, 2011

He looks up and meets her eyes. “It’s hard to know how to go on.” He searches for words, a way to explain how he needs her to make sense of his life. He can understand nothing of the last six years. All that happened, the way he left Warsaw and didn’t go back, the love he feels for another woman, the war and all its bloody awfulness; all of it is a jumble of jigsaw pieces and he never knows which he will pick up. All the time, he was hoping for peace; now it’s here, and he is like a man coming up to the light after years of living underground. It should be wonderful, but it’s not. He keeps pretending everything is all right, but the truth is his son hates him, his wife cries every night, and he still dreams of the woman he left.

I absolutely love the novel, 22 Britannia Road, by Amanda Hodgkinson. It tells the story of a young couple who are separated right before the German army invades Poland. Janusz (pronounced Yanoosh) leaves his wife Silvana and their baby in order to join the Polish Army. Janusz becomes overwhelmed by the tragedies of war almost immediately, however, and doesn’t quite join. He also doesn’t come home. To his defense, he is really young and in a state of shock. Meanwhile Silvana, who is not as young, is at home with the baby. She is supposed to go to her mother in laws to wait out the war, but is understandably hesitant to do so. She is a very strong character who seems to think that she is bullet proof. She finds out quite quickly that she is not. And that is just the beginning of this wonderful story.

The novel flips easy between the time that the couple is apart and the time after they are reunited. I cannot tell you how intriguing these characters are. I felt as though I cared deeply for each of them. I was unable to put the book down.

Sep 08, 2011

Not really believable. The circumstances were believable, but the characters reactions I just couldn't buy into.

sjmitra Jun 27, 2011

Disappointing read after all the rave reviews. Another story of survivors coping with the aftermath of general devastation and personal tragedy, an average reading experience.

debwalker May 31, 2011

In Amanda Hodgkinson's debut novel, survivors of World War II try to reconstruct a life as a family in a new country. A husband, wife and son are reuniting after being apart for six years. On the surface, the three have all the ingredients for a happy ending: The wife and child are safe, and the husband has a job and a house for them. But nothing is ever so simple. Neither husband nor wife is the same person that each knew before the war; each has secrets about what happened during those long years apart. The house at 22 Britannia Road offers hope, and yet it can't protect its residents from the secrets they keep. Hodgkinson has a talent for introducing complicated characters who tear at your heart and keep you worrying and wondering about them. She also knows how to let secrets simmer and boil over in surprising ways


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