Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rereading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

First the colors. Then the humans. That's usually how I see things. Or at least, how I try. Here is a small fact: you are going to die. I am in all truthfulness attempting to be cheerful about this whole topic, though most people find themselves hindered in believing me, no matter my protestations. Please, trust me. I most definitely can be cheerful. Agreeable. Affable. And that's only the A's. Just don't ask me to be nice. Nice has nothing to do with me. 

The Book Thief is set during World War II in the town of Molching, just outside of Munich. It is about a girl named Liesel Meminger, who is the book thief. She first steals a book at her brother's funeral, and then is brought to Molching to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann, her foster parents. Hans is very kind, and he teaches her how to read, and soon she is stealing books from Nazi book burnings and the mayor's wife library, among other places. Then Max Vanderberg, a Jew, arrives, and is sheltered in their basement, changing Liesel. All very well, you may say, but the interesting thing about this one is that the book is narrated by...Death. Death himself. I thought that was certainly an interesting idea, especially in a time of war, when  Death is so busy. The interludes where Death muses on...well, death, for the most part, aren't quite as clever as Zusak seems to think they are, though are intriguing, and foreshadow what's to come. And amusing, somehow, with a sort of grim, dark, humor. I enjoyed The Book Thief just as much as before; there's just something about it that makes it very compelling indeed. The Book Thief is certainly not an easy book to read, to grapple with, and it can be very sad and also moving. Zusak's style in this one is also very distinctive, quite different from his other book, I Am the Messenger. I would recommend to everyone. (By the way, you can read Becky's excellent review here.)

552 pages.
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!

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