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Words, Worlds, Whorls

A place where I write reviews and keep track of what I want to read or have already read.

The Thief of Auschwitz

The Thief of Auschwitz - Jon Clinch I finished this book this morning and immediately marked it as finished on Goodreads and gave it a four-star rating. After lunch, when I was more lucid, I couldn't really think of why I would give it a four. Yes, it was good. It was intriguing. There was nothing outstandingly terrible about it...yet nor was there anything outstandingly wonderful.In modern times, Max Rosen is a famous artist who has been forced to look back on his life now that he is - on paper, at least - nearing 80 years old. He reflects on art and The Artist, especially in terms of himself and his mother, who was also an artist though not nearly as famous as Max would become. But his recollections are a mere fraction of the book; the vast majority of it is dedicated to the story of Max's parents, Jacob and Eidel Rosen, and the whole family's sufferings and trials at Auschwitz.Even seventy years later, we are still fascinated with World War II and the Holocaust. Some people claim it has been overdone and it's time to let the whole issue rest. I, personally, haven't read an excessive amount of literature dedicated to it, so I come at it more or less fresh. What is really intriguing is reading The Thief of Auschwitz so soon after Garden of Stones; the former is about Auschwitz while the latter deals with Manzanar. The contrasts and similarities are so striking, even in a purely fictional light.In spite of the subject matter, this was a fairly easy read. Since I had a PDF ARC, I could pull it up on the computer when I was bored and had nothing else to do. This meant I would sometimes go two or three days without so much as glancing at it, yet I had no trouble remembering where I was or what had happened previously. There was no need to backtrack or retrace my steps.I had two fairly big problems with this novel: the title and the ending. I spent the whole book wondering who the thief was supposed to be, and it wasn't revealed until the last twenty pages or so. Which normally isn't a big deal, except the thief really wasn't the thief OF Auschwitz. He was more accurately the thief who happened to come from Auschwitz. And the ending seemed to be building up to a great, gripping climax, but at the last moment the author turns away from the real horror of the story and brings the reader back to present-day Max. It was a bit of a letdown, and the biggest reason I decided to change my rating from a four to a three.