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Adventures With Nazis, Communists, and the Metropolitan Opera
By Leshek Zavistovski in Collaboration With Monique Zavistovski and Toni Rapport Zavistovski


In the winter of 1964, three weeks after defecting from Poland and the night after playing a flashy holiday performance with the Rockettes at Radio City, Leshek Zavistovski was arrested and faced deportation to a gulag. His troubles started, however, long before he was a fugitive cellist behind bars. As a four-year-old child he was abandoned in a remote Polish village, kidnapped, and swept into the advancing Red Army. Thus his perils began.

Children and Fish Don’t Talk is more than Leshek’s dramatic story. He recounts in thrilling detail his father’s defiance against the Nazis in the Warsaw Uprising, the ghastly deeds of Cossacks and the Soviet KGB, the hilarious antics of a foreigner at the height of McCarthyism, the vibrant world of the Metropolitan Opera in the 1960s, his elderly mother’s foxy attempt to crush the Iron Curtain with homemade posters and glue, and numerous encounters with Polish sausage. It is a breathtaking tale of survival, taking readers from the poverty of post-war Poland to the lavish dinner tables of America’s rich and famous, an adventure as harrowing as it is funny. And that’s because it’s true.

Cellist and sculptor Leshek Zavistovski was born in Warsaw, Poland on the eve of World War II and became the youngest member of the Warsaw National Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Monique Zavistovski is a filmmaker raised on the edge of the Sleepy Hollow woods. Her work has won awards worldwide, including at Sundance and the Emmys. Fulbright scholar and violinist Toni Rapport Zavistovski recorded for Warsaw Radio with Władysław Szpilman, the subject of Roman Polanski’s Oscar-winning film The Pianist, and was Assistant Principal Violin of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

“Leshek Zavistovski's searing memoir is not just the testament of a young man's survival. It powerfully shows how Leshek transcended the extreme circumstances of his existence . . . a brilliantly crafted love story to the human spirit (his!).” —Bruce C. McKenna, writer, Band of Brothers; Emmy Award-winning creator, writer, executive producer, The Pacific

Children and Fish Don’t Talk is excellent and polished.” —Connie Martinson, writer, host of syndicated television show Connie Martinson Talks Books

“His is a path of movie-worthy, epic struggle. I was agape from the beginning to the end of this book!” —Susan Graham, internationally-renowned opera star

“Leshek Zavistovski has led a remarkable life and he writes about it vividly and passionately. His survival as a child, separated from his parents by war, and his subsequent career as a musician, should be the stuff of legends.” —Jerry Adler, senior editor, Newsweek (retired)

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