Reviews

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

HERE IS A SMALL FACT
YOU ARE GOING TO DIE
SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION
THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH
It’s a small story, about:
a girl
an accordionist
some fanatical Germans
a Jewish fist fighter
and quite a lot of thievery.
ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW
DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES

This is the only Markus Zusak’s work I have read. I really want to read his other books, but this one book is enough to say that he is such a brilliant and hugely ambitious writer. The first thing we will notice about this book is its length, but it is a beautifully written, heartbreaking, sad, intricately crafted, powerful book about Nazi Germany narrated by Death itself. I loved the concept of Death as a story-teller. We definitely see a different face of death here, not the scary one, but really gentle, sympathetic and kind.

“I can be amiable. Agreeable. Affable. And that’s only the A’s.”

To be honest, it definitely took time to get used to this narration, but I slowly started falling in love with each and every character.

Set during World War II in Germany, this novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, the book thief, a foster girl living outside of Munich. This story is her life, how she tries to figure out things amidst the chaos, and her fascination with books. Liesel’s brother dies just before her mother leaves her with foster parents in Germany and her father, a Communist, has been taken away. The first book is ‘The Grave Diggers Handbook’, stolen the day her brother dies, and the day she last sees her mother.  She steals a total of nine books throughout the novel.

Liesel struggles initially to get used to her new home. Her new Papa, Hans Hubermann, an accordionist, is such a sweet soul. He slowly makes her comfortable and she begins to see him as her own papa. Hans teaches her to read at night. They start reading the book that Liesel stole on her brother’s funeral. Their relationship is just so beautiful to read. His wife, Rosa, uses foul-language a lot, beats Liesel with wooden spoon, but still you will be able to see the love and care underneath that tough look. She is definitely not one of those evil step-mom material. They are such a lovable family.

Max Vandenburg, a 24-year-old Jewish boxer, shows up at the family doorstep one day and the story really picks up from there. Max and Liesel develop a bond and he writes and illustrates a beautiful short story for Liesel. Having all those illustrations in the book make it so real. Other important characters are Rudy Steiner, a close friend of her; Ilsa Hermann, the mayor’s wife, who has never recovered from the loss of her own son.

It is definitely better to read this without knowing too much about the plot. Let the narrator tell you the story and take you along the ride. The plot has everything you need. You never know what is going to happen. It is definitely heartbreaking, heartwarming and suspenseful. This is definitely my all time favourite book. It has changed the way I see things. I would love to re-read it anytime. I highly recommend that you read this at least once.

My Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0552773891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552773898

 

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