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The Book Thief is the fifth novel by Australian author, Markus Zusak. The setting is Nazi Germany just before the start of World War Two, through to 1943, and the story is narrated by Death. Death was decidedly overworked during the war, but he informs the reader that he saw young Liesel Meminger three times in those years before he finally took her much later. Liesel comes to 33 Himmel Strasse in Molchen to foster parents Rosa and Hans Hubermann, having just lost her younger brother, Werner to Death’s grasp. Cranky Rosa keeps the family fed with her washing and ironing service while kind Hans paints when it is needed, plays the accordion and teaches Liesel to read, all on the background of deprivation, anxiety and fear that is wartime Germany. The anxiety level rises when Max Vandenburg, a Jew, comes to hide in the basement. But the presence of this unassuming man also helps to expand Liesel’s experience of reading and of life. With her best friend, Rudy Steiner, Liesel embarks on a career of thievery, starting with apples but graduating, eventually, to books from the Mayor’s library, although her first books are acquired in quite a different manner. This much-awarded, best-selling novel looks at war from a different perspective: the effects it has on ordinary people trying to lead ordinary lives in an ordinary town. While the Fuhrer and Mein Kampf play integral parts, illustrating the use of words for evil, the emphasis is on the struggle of the common man (and woman) to do the right thing in a dangerous environment. Zusak’s characters have depth and appeal (even cranky Rosa): the banter between them often lifts the tension from serious moments with some quite black humour. Zusak is skilful with his imagery and wordplay: “He was teenage tall and had a long neck. Pimples gathered in peer groups on his face.” and “She imagined the sound of a police siren throwing itself forward and reeling itself in. Collecting itself.” are just two examples. The illustrations by Trudy White are a charming enhancement to the text. This novel has brutality, but it also has beauty. The narration style may take a little getting used to, but the reader who perseveres is rewarded with a wonderful experience. Very moving.
Very different style--keep an open mind
I cannot remember where I first heard about this book, but when I checked it out at the bookstore, I could not get past the first couple of pages. When I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie, which intrigued me, I decided to give it another chance, and I am glad I did. The author has a unique style, which I guess is not for everyone, but I liked it--could not wait to get back to it when I reluctantly had to eat or sleep.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a chilling story about a little girl that lost her brother and was sent to live with foster parents. She tells her life story through the Holocaust and her best friends that she manages to make during the holocaust. I highly recommend this book to everyone who is interested in the Holocaust.
Just didn't like it
I tried, many many times, to read this book. I heard good reviews. Frankly it bored me. The obvious plight of an orphan in the Holocaust - well of COURSE you are going to feel sorry for her. But in my opinion, there was no lyricism to this story. It felt broken up (like some other reviewers, I also found the headlines annoying - I don't need headlines to tell me what is important or of note in a story), disjointed, and if I had to see the work Saukerl or saumensch again I thought I would go nuts. The characters were obvious, the tug on the heartstrings Hollywood, and I didn't find the book to offer anything - whether a voice, a character, a story - to me.
The Book Thief
A great read! A different style. In the way Joanne Harris presents us with tastes and smells, the author paints for us with colours that relay almost as much as the words.
I did not like it
When I came to a part talking about some woman digging in the snow for a boy with blood freezing on her hands seeing two hearts and then something about a WARM scream in her throat (I have never heard of any scream described as anything but icy or at least cold) - I gave up right there wondering why anyone in their right mind would even entertain the notion of publishing such a far out, non coherent fairy tail. I've heard better stories from people out of their mind on drugs on the streets of the big cities that made more sense than this. I could not get half way through it.
The book Thief
The very first page had me lost. The book had no point to it, not one. It told me stuff I already knew. It just went on and on.
5 Stars All the Way!
This Book makes you laugh, makes you cry, and introduces you to a new way of thinking. From it's exiting plot to lovable characters...Book Thief all The way!