Vienna Dolorosa by Mykola Dementiuk (Synergy Press 2007)

On Saturday, March 12, 1938, Hitler’s army marched into Vienna, looting, destroying and murdering while the city’s inhabitants fled or stood by in shock hoping the cataclysm wouldn’t touch them.  At the novel’s heart is Frau Friska, a transvestite hotel manager, and Petya, a young boy who lives off his earnings as a prostitute in the hotel’s back rooms.  Ruthless, cruel and unredemptive, Vienna Dolorosa is a frightening portrait of a single day in which the glory that was Vienna vanished overnight.  This, Dementiuk seems to say, is what the end looks like when it comes unawares.  Dolorosa combines the seductive sleekness of Cabaret with the heartbreaking realism of Bent.  A powerful, imaginative work by a compelling writer.