Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Book Thief

I don't know why I hadn't read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak until recently and I couldn't tell yo why I decided that it was finally time to read it.  I did a little bit of research beforehand and had seen a comment on Goodreads that this wasn't a book you could read quickly.  I'd argue against that as I steamed through the Book Thief like a locomotion on it's way to get Anna Karenina.  I thought it was one of the most beautiful pieces of fiction that I have ever read. 

Here's the blurb from Goodreads (the picture is from there too as I forgot to take one of my copy, d'oh!): HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall. 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

Captivating and harrowing at the same time, I thought that Zusack had found a perfect voice in which to tell his story.  The narrator, Death, wasn't a characicture like you'd expect, just an observer who had become fascinated with Lisel's story.  The reasons for this are left unclear.  Did Death follow Liesel and those who lived on Himmel Street to prove to itself that there was some good in humanity during a time when there appeared to be none?  Or as a prime example of the evils that others can do to each other? 

Even though it may have been heartbreaking, there were proper consequneces for everyone in this sad tale.  The narrative was set up like a stack of dominoes that the Zusack was waiting to flick at just the right moment, so that they all topple.  When he knocked his dominoes down I was in tears, heartbroken for Liesel and all of the people I had grown to love over the course of the novel.  Yet even in death there was beauty and I'm definately going to buy my own copy of this tremendous book.

No comments:

Post a Comment