The Thief of Auschwitz [NOOK Book]


?The camp at Auschwitz took one year of my life, and of my own free will I gave it another four.?

So begins the much-anticipated new novel from Jon Clinch, award-winning author of Finn and Kings of the Earth.

In The Thief of Auschwitz, Clinch steps for the first time beyond the deeply American roots of his earlier books to explore one of the darkest moments in mankind?s ...
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The Thief of Auschwitz

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“The camp at Auschwitz took one year of my life, and of my own free will I gave it another four.”

So begins the much-anticipated new novel from Jon Clinch, award-winning author of Finn and Kings of the Earth.

In The Thief of Auschwitz, Clinch steps for the first time beyond the deeply American roots of his earlier books to explore one of the darkest moments in mankind’s history—and to do so with the sympathy, vision, and heart that are the hallmarks of his work

Told in two intertwining narratives, The Thief of Auschwitz takes readers on a dual journey: one into the death camp at Auschwitz with Jacob, Eidel, Max, and Lydia Rosen; the other into the heart of Max himself, now an aged but extremely vital—and outspoken—survivor. Max is a renowned painter, and he’s about to be honored with a retrospective at the National Gallery in Washington. The truth, though, is that he’s been keeping a crucial secret from the art world—indeed from the world at large, and perhaps even from himself—all his life long.

The Thief of Auschwitz reveals that secret, along with others that lie in the heart of a family that’s called upon to endure—together and separately—the unendurable.


Advance Praise for Jon Clinch’s The Thief of Auschwitz:

“There is a painting of a child that figures throughout Jon Clinch’s moving and fierce new book, one of many indelible and haunting images he paints in this story of one family’s fight to keep love alive in a landscape filled with death. That painting will remain, like the story itself, in your heart forever.”
— Robert Goolrick, author of A Reliable Wife and Heading Out to Wonderful

“Jon Clinch’s The Thief of Auschwitz is the intensely dramatic and moving story of how a remarkable painting enables two doomed parents to save their beloved teenage son from the gas chambers of Nazi Germany. Abounding with richly developed, surprising characters, The Thief of Auschwitz is itself a stunning portrait of how love of family, of freedom, and of art can triumph over pure, relentless evil. The Thief of Auschwitz, for my money, is the best and most powerful work of fiction ever written about the Holocaust.”
— Howard Frank Mosher, author of Walking to Gatlinburg and Where The Rivers Flow North
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940016074948
  • Publisher: unmediated ink
  • Publication date: 1/6/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 581,453
  • File size: 485 KB

Meet the Author

Born and raised in upstate New York, Jon Clinch has been an English teacher, a metalworker, a folksinger, an illustrator, a typeface designer, a housepainter, a copywriter, and an advertising executive.

His first novel, Finn—the secret history of Huckleberry Finn’s father—was named an American Library Association Notable Book and was chosen as one of the year's best books by the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Christian Science Monitor. It won the Philadelphia Athenaeum Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Sargent First Novel Prize.

His second novel, Kings of the Earth—a powerful tale of life, death, and family in rural America, based on a true story—was named a best book of the year by the Washington Post and led the 2010 Summer Reading List at O, The Oprah Magazine.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 11, 2013

    more from this reviewer

     This is one of those books that I don't know where to begin in

     This is one of those books that I don't know where to begin in trying to review it.  The subject matter is of such significance, that my meager words will pale greatly in comparison.  

    Max is only 14 years old when his family is taken to Auschwitz.  They had been moving from place to place for awhile, only putting off what I believe they knew was inevitable.  They lose Lydia the first day there, as children aren't consider viable.  Max is only saved due to his size - he is able to pass for 18 and so gets to live. The men are split from the women, so Eidel is sent to one side of the camp and Max and Jacob to the other.  Jacob realizes that Lydia has been killed, and so Eidel also thinks the same fate has befallen Max.  It isn't until she is able to bribe some information from a delivery man that she discovers that Max is alive.

    The story is told by Max, when he is an old man living in America, and also by Jacob, Eidel and others in the death camp.  At once we understand the futility of the life they are living, but at the same time we are given hope because we know that Max has survived.  This story tells what Max's family endures in order for him to survive, and how much a family is willing to go through, with only hope to go on, that one of them might outlast the atrocities that they face day to day.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2013

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    The story starts in 1942 when the Rosen family with no other alt

    The story starts in 1942 when the Rosen family with no other alternative arrives at the train station to Auschwitz where for the next year through death, humiliation, degradation and torture their lives are documented. The story is told in excruciatingly painful words to read but also with all the humanness that makes this such an important novel. We’re introduced to all sorts of characters from the soldiers to the prisoners, from the truly cruel to those who’s cruelty resulted from the circumstances created by camp life.
    And between the chapters of terror we learn of Max, the son who’s obviously made it through to an old age, who’s obviously followed in the footsteps of his artist mother, who suffers no fools, but has suffered greatly from the experience of monsters in the death camp known as Auschwitz.

    There have been many stories written of the Holocaust; of the atrocities of the Nazis to the people they thought beneath them, who they thought less than human, most of who were Jews. I hope that trend continues especially now when we’re loosing the last of the victims, the heroes and all those who lived through WWII in one way or another.

    In Jon Clinch’s latest novel he gives us a unique perspective of Auschwitz, the most recognized death camp during the Nazi devastation of Europe. He follows one family, not necessarily religious Jews, a family of some influence who unfortunately with no where left to run, no where left to hide found themselves at the train station deceptively made to look inviting by the flower boxes and the trompe-l’oeil clock always set at half passed three. The mother a painter, the father a barber and the children a boy of 14 and a small girl with a cold.
    As all of these stories whether true or fiction it wasn’t easy to read, it’s comprehension is somewhat unbelievable to those of us who can’t imagine such evil. But it’s none the less an important story and I’m fortunate for the opportunity to have read it.
    I will definitely be reading more of Clinch’s work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Thief of Auschwitz by Jon Clinch is a fic­tional book tellin

    The Thief of Auschwitz by Jon Clinch is a fic­tional book telling of a family’s strug­gle to sur­vive. Mr. Clinch’s pre­vi­ous books, Finn and Kings of the Earth won awards and com­men­da­tion from around the country.

    The story is told in flash­backs of Max Rosen, an artist, octo­ge­nar­ian, Holo­caust sur­vivor and son of Eidel and Jacob who per­ished in Auschwitz. In his story Max remem­bers his par­ents, their tremen­dous strug­gle to sur­vive in the con­cen­tra­tion camp and all they gave up so he could live.

    Jacob, a bar­ber by trade, is assigned to cut the Nazis hair and fan­ta­size about slash­ing the commandant’s throat. Eidel, an accom­plished artist, goes once a week to paint the commandant’s fam­ily who lives in rel­a­tive lux­ury com­pared to her existence.

    The Thief of Auschwitz by Jon Clinch is a fas­ci­nat­ing and well writ­ten book. Even though short, Mr. Clinch is an excel­lent sto­ry­teller pre­sent­ing a beau­ti­ful story and tight page-turner.

    The story por­trays a Jew­ish fam­ily try­ing to stay sane in a world gone mad. The fam­ily is try­ing to sal­vage a bit of civil­ity wher­ever they can in a place that could on be described as hell on earth.

    The story doesn’t have many twists, but sev­eral con­ve­nient plot points which, although a bit too con­ve­nient are cen­tral to the story. Usu­ally I’m not a big fan of “all too con­ve­nient” coin­ci­dences but I’ve read enough about World War II to know that stranger things have hap­pened in real life, so why not in fiction?

    Mr. Clinch wrote an ele­gant and poignant story which runs the gamete of emo­tions from despair to hope. I found myself car­ing about these char­ac­ters, took solace from their strength and inspi­ra­tion from their actions. Most impor­tant the book shows the true cost of the Holo­caust, not only in terms of human life, but in term of cul­ture. The artists who will never paint, the writ­ers who will never write and yes, even the bar­bers who will never pam­per their clients again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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