The Crooked Maid
By Dan Vyleta
(Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, Hardcover, 9781608198092, 427pp.)
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
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Vienna, 1948. The war is over, and as the initial phase of de-Nazification winds down, the citizens of Vienna struggle to rebuild their lives amidst the rubble.
Anna Beer returns to the city she fled nine years earlier after discovering her husband's infidelity. She has come back to find him and, perhaps, to forgive him. Traveling on the same train from Switzerland is 18-year-old Robert Seidel, a schoolboy summoned home to his stepfather's sickbed and the secrets of his family's past.
As Anna and Robert navigate an unrecognizable city, they cross paths with a war-widowed American journalist, a hunchbacked young servant girl, and a former POW whose primary purpose is to survive by any means and to forget. Meanwhile, in the shells of burned-out houses and beneath the bombed-out ruins, a ghost of a man, his head wrapped in a red scarf, battles demons from his past and hides from a future deeply uncertain for all.
In "The Crooked Maid," Dan Vyleta returns to the shadows of war-darkened Vienna, proving himself once again "a magical storyteller, master of the macabre" (David Park).