Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is one of those books that everyone but me has read (or so it feels). It's so highly recommended that I'm actually afraid to read it, because what if it doesn't live up to expectations? Well, when I saw the book on sale (for only 300 yen!) I decided it was time to read it.

If you haven't already read it, The Book Thief is a novel set in Nazi Germany and narrated by Death. Liesel (our protagonist) starts her career as the book thief when she steals a book at her brother's grave. After which, she is separated from her mother and sent to live with Hans (Papa) and Rosa (Mama). Nazi Germany is not a kind place to grow up with, even though her foster parents do love her - though Rosa has a strange way of showing it, and Liesel comes face to face with the horrors of Nazi when her family takes in a Jewish man named Max.

Ok, this summary leaves a lot to be desired because it doesn't mention Rudy (best friend and love interest), the various people that Liesel meets, or the depth of story created by the mere act of saving a human life.

I think the most unique part of this book is the narrator. The book is narrated by none other than Death, which is fitting for the grim setting. While death and Liesel don't interact directly for most of the book, he is the one telling the story and his personality shines through every line. The point of view seems to alternate between first person and third, but death is always present. There are also interludes (perhaps they are poems? or just very indented text?) with facts or definitions and a dash-dash keyword feature at the start of each part. I was not as big a fan of the interludes and the start of each part as I was of death as a narrator and actually ended skipping all the "featuring" sections.

There are also a few sections that are pages from the "books" that Max writes and I think they may be my favourite parts of the book. They are moving and the illustrations go very well with the text. I can almost see Liesel slowly making her way through the words and it helped to show the deep bond between the two of them.

Overall, I really loved this story. While not everything about the way it was written appealed to me, I thought that death as a narrator was the perfect choice and I loved the depth with which each character was written. It's a moving and horrifying tale of how life in Nazi Germany was like, for both the Jews and the non-Jews.


  1. You read it! Are you going to watch the movie? I never did.

    1. I haven't decided :p I'm not really a movie version person (I haven't even watched Miss Peregrine and I loved the series)

  2. I loved this novel, especially the narration. I haven't yet seen the movie, but maybe someday. I had heard it wasn't as good.

    1. With a book this powerful, I think it'd be very hard for the movie to live up to it!


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