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1 rating: 3.0
A book by Antoine Duie

Diebstahl, or "theft" in German, tells of the thwarted effort of an Austrian mountain guide to get to the United States and of the dramatic attempt of an American Vice Consul to help him overcome the obstacles to his immigration. The action takes the … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Antoine Duie
Publisher: Superiorbooks.Com Inc
1 review about Diebstahl

A Sensitive Tale of a War's Harsh Legacy

  • Jan 26, 2002
Although there was some uneven pacing in the prose (and some very minor typos), this brief, smoothly written tale proved to be a moving portrait of a youthful U.S. foreign service officer's encounter with the broken detritus of an earlier and harsher time: the era of the Third Reich and the terrible war it engendered. The American, adrift in Salzburg Austria as a Vice Consul responsible for approving visa applicants to the United States, encounters an old man who is desperate to emigrate because he can no longer sustain himself in his native village. The foreign service officer dutifully quizzes the man, only to discover a problem in his background. And yet he is not without sympathy for this applicant's plight and so, with only a vague idea of what he is doing and, perhaps, from a sense of boredom with the humdrum pace of things in the Consulate, the American befriends his Austrian supplicant in an effort to find a way around the legal obstacle he has uncovered.

As he gets sucked deeper into this man's world, he tries desperately to find what he hopes will be the truth lying behind the words, a truth which will enable the American to grant the prized visa. But, while their odd friendship grows, the story the elderly Austrian has to tell seems to become sorrier and sorrier with each revelation as the Vice Consul begins to see flaws and to suspect he has been lied to on a larger scale. Persisting out of a sort of dogged empathy with the old fellow, the tale he finally wins from the Austrian shakes his confidence in the very job he has sworn to perform while awakening him to his own slow drift into emptiness and old age.

Here is a tale of two men of very different generations and cultures who connect, in an odd sort of way, through the search of one for a new life . . . and the other for a life he has not yet lived. Well-written and worth it!


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