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The Thief of Auschwitz    by Jon Clinch order for
Thief of Auschwitz
by Jon Clinch
Order:  USA  Can
CreateSpace, 2013 (2011)
* * *   Reviewed by Carrol Wolverton

A Tragically Good Story:

The scenario is improbable, but the story telling is engrossing even if the circumstances are unbearable. Jon Clinch crafts artful though death-filled prose. He wrote this novel to paint in our memories the horrible heritage of the Auschwitz death camp he learned from relatives on his mother's side. It's easy for later generations to erase such horrors, to file them away. Clinch says, 'No way.' The stories must go on.

That this fictional family somehow stays linked once exiled to the death camp doesn't seem likely, given the huge numbers and mass confusion of crushing rail car death rides. What little is carried with them is stripped. Everyone knows what happens to kids right off; they're gassed. Yet, even little Lydia, their blond Aryan-looking darling, reappears and survives through her mother's art. The father being a barber proves useful, allowing him access to authority and the ability to plot to save his wife and son and Lydia's portrait. Because Max is a teenager, his youth and strength help save him, and he is the only one to physically survive.

Now jaded in his old age, Max tells his story. Even if only one tattooed art connoisseur seems to understand, it is enough. He and his memories live to tell a well-written tale.

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