The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery….
Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever they are to be found.
With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
This book is thoroughly mind-blowing and downright incredible. What else would you expect from a book narrated by Death?
I can hardly begin to describe my love for this book. It’s thought-provoking and poignant and full of unforgettable characters, scenes, and sentences. This book made me laugh, and cry, and more than any other I’ve read, painted me a picture of World War Two. Which is another reason I love this book. Lots of people know the story of the Jews in concentration camps or Victory Garden growers on the home front, but the people living in Nazi Germany are often looked over or thought of as Party members. Not all of them were. Some of them hid Jews in their basement, or played the accordion, or stole books.
And a lot of them died. Death is ever-present in The Book Thief, and not just because he’s narrating it. Death's character is a huge part of why I like this book. Death isn’t cruel, he doesn’t kill. He doesn’t like carrying broken souls, but it’s his job. He comforts the dead and watches the sky. He isn’t something to be feared, but in the end he comes for us all, even those of us who steal books from a Nazi fire.
Once Upon a Time...
As a longtime lover of stories and a believer in the power and magic of books, I've spent my life seeking out the best reads. This blog is dedicated to reviewing the books I read - good, bad, or magnificent - to help other readers find their next favorite books.