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The Thief of Auschwitz

The Thief of Auschwitz

4.7 4
by Jon Clinch

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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


"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. Old Max has become a world-reknowned painter, and he's about to be honored with a retrospective at the National Gallery in Washington. Yet the truth 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.

Product Details

CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.62(d)

Meet the Author

About Jon Clinch:

Born and raised in the remote heart of 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.

Jon has lectured and taught widely, in settings as varied as the National Council of Teachers of English, Williams College, the Mark Twain House and Museum, and Pennsylvania State University. In 2008 he organized a benefit reading for the financially-ailing Twain House-enlisting such authors as Tom Perrotta, Stewart O'Nan, and Robert Hicks-an event that literally saved the house from bankruptcy. A native of upstate New York, Jon lives with his wife in the Green Mountains of Vermont. They have one daughter.

Brief Biography

Harleysville, Pennsylvania
Date of Birth:
September 12, 1954
Place of Birth:
Oneida, New York
A.B. in English, Syracuse University, 1976

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The Thief of Auschwitz 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
kherbrand More than 1 year ago
 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.
dhaupt More than 1 year ago
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.
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago