Title : The Book Thief
Author : Markus Zusak
ISBN : 9780375831003
Publisher : Knopf Books
Genre : Historical Fiction
Pages : 552
Source : Self
Rating : 5 stars
The Book Thief is a story of a 11-year old German girl, narrated by none other than Death himself. The story is set in Munich, Germany during the World War II period.
Liesel (The Book Thief) loses her brother and is orphaned when her mother leaves her, after giving her away to her foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann, who live in Himmel street, Munich. Hans, an accordionist and painter, teaches Liesel how to read and write. Rosa, a gruff woman, swears a lot but has a heart of gold. Liesel is loved greatly by them.
In keeping a promise, Hans agrees to shelter Max Vandenburg, his friend’s son and a jew, in the basement of his house. During the course of his stay at the hubermanns, Max becomes great friends with Liesel. He writes two books for her, ‘The standover man’ and ‘The word shaker’.
Liesel loses everything when Himmel street is bombed, including her parents, her next door neighbor and best friend Rudy Steiner and a book she had written about her life, titled ‘The Book Thief’. The book is later found by Death.
The story is a strong one – it moves like a sailboat on a brisk day. The choice to tell the story through Death was a good one. Death foreshadows constantly, so we know a bit about which characters will die. This doesn’t ruin the shock value, instead it heightens the anticipation and dread of the reader.
Few quotes from the book:
“A DEFINITION NOT FOUND
IN THE DICTIONARY
Not leaving: an act of trust and love,
often deciphered by children”
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
“Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day.”
The Book Thief is beautifully written, extremely engrossing. A masterpiece.