Songbird Summary (Walter Zacharius)

Walter Zacharius


(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Marisa “Mia” Levy watches her upper-middle class world be destroyed by Nazi soldiers. With the loss of her home, family, and life she knew, Mia finds herself in war torn Warsaw. Alone, scared, and hungry, she is rescued by an underground Jewish militia. She helps the secret resistance by running ammunition into the Jewish ghettos. Through the underground, she escapes Poland and reaches Switzerland where a Jewish relief organization sends her to extended family in America.

Working in her aunt and uncle’s New York jewelry store, Mia falls in love with a young American, Vinnie Sforza. While trying to resume a normal life, she receives a postcard confirming her mother’s death in Auschwitz. Mia then joins the United States war effort, returning to Paris as a double agent, supplying information to the allies that she extracts from unknowing Nazi soldiers.

Mia’s work, and those of others in the resistance, help guide the Allies to liberate Paris, and eventually win the war. After the war, she learns her entire family died in Auschwitz. With nothing in Europe but horrible memories, and the belief that Vinnie died in Paris during the liberation, she leaves for the promised land of Palestine and creates a life devoid of war memories and what she lost.

Decades later, she receives a surprise letter from her American love Vinnie, which invites hope and the possibility of a new life, but also unwelcome memories.