The protean West's 18th novel (and second to appear this spring, following his revisionist Old West tale OK, p. 267) forms an interesting complement to his earlier fictional study of the Nazi phenomenon and its mentality, The Very Rich Hours of Count von Stauffenberg (1980). Here, a `memoir` (the `author` of which is only gradually, glancingly revealed—as West's odd Afterword explains) describes the years (1907–14) when the young Adolf Hitler lived in Vienna as a hopeful art student. The specific subject is the importunate Adolf's courting of two older, established painters, Treischnitt and Kolberhoff, whose dismissive contempt for his productions (such as his `dry,` lifeless image of the Danube River) contributes significantly to the building resentment and that will later explode into military conquest and carnage. It's arguably reductive to thus pinpoint the source of Hitler's all-out assault on a European civilization that rejected his jejune contributions to it—but West's taut little immorality tale crackles with verbal energy, flexibility, and passion. One of his most fully realized fictions.