The Crooked Maid
A novel by Dan Vyleta
Vienna, 1948.The war is over, and as the first stage of denazification draws to a close, the citizens of Vienna struggle to rebuild their lives amidst the rubble. Anna Beer returns to the city she fled nine years earlier upon discovering her husband's infidelity. She has come back to find him and, perhaps, to forgive him, only to learn that she will first have to find him. Traveling on the same train is eighteen-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 a damaged, 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. 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.