Its just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusaks groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she cant resist books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
The Book Thief is an extraordinary, heartbreaking book. Like The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time, which was initially targeted at young adults in Britain but to adults in the USA, The Book Thief is one of those rare books that really does speak to both young and old alike.
The excerpt that you can read at BookBrowse doesn't do this exceptionally readable, highly memorable book justice. It's not so much that it's not representative of the book, but more that the style of writing grows on one to the point that the prose ends up reading almost like poetry. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
New York Times - Janet Maslin The Book Thief will be appreciated for Mr. Zusak's audacity, also on display in his earlier I Am the Messenger. It will be widely read and admired because it tells a story in which books become treasures.
USA Today - Carol Memmott The Book Thief is unsettling and unsentimental, yet ultimately poetic. Its grimness and tragedy run through the reader's mind like a black-and-white movie, bereft of the colors of life. Zusak may not have lived under Nazi domination, but The Book Thief deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel's Night. It seems poised to become a classic.
San Francisco Chronicle - Reyhan Harmanci
Writing fiction about the Holocaust is a risky endeavor. Most children learn about it in history class, or through nonfiction narratives like Eli Wiesel's Night. Zusak has done a useful thing by hanging the story on the experience of a German civilian, not a camp survivor, and humanizing the choices that ordinary people had to make in the face of the Führer.
Washington Post - Elizabeth Chang
[A]n absorbing and searing narrative.
Booklist - Hazel Rochman
More than the overt message about the power of words, it's Liesl's confrontation with horrifying cruelty and her discovery of kindness in unexpected places that tell the heartbreaking truth.
The writing is elegant, philosophical and moving. Even at its length, it's a work to read slowly and savor. Beautiful and important.
The Horn Book
Starred. Exquisitely written and memorably populated... A tour de force to be not just read but inhabited.
Starred book. This hefty volume is an achievement - a challenging book in both length and subject.
The Daily Telegraph - Lisa Hilton
The suggestion that 40 million people died because of the power of words might seem trite until one recalls the mendacious blabberings of the leaders of a war we are still fighting. The Book Thief depends too much on unnecessary devices to be a great novel, but it is certainly extraordinary, resonant and relevant, beautiful and angry.
The Independent - Marianne Brace
This is a moving work which will make many eyes brim. Zusak shows us how small defiances and unexpectedly courageous acts remind us of our humanity. It isn't only Death who is touched. Liesel steals our hearts too.
The Age (Australia) - Peter Pierce
A prize-winning children's author, Zusak has made a daring debut as an author of adult fiction .... The Book Thief is a triumph of control, and for the most part of tact, although Death is at liberty to breach any decorum. Its oblique angle on the German homefront never exalts the courage of the young, but quietly tells of how days and months are managed.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by historical reader heartwarming 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... Read More
Rated of 5
by Penny 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... Read More
Rated of 5
by Maz 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.
Rated of 5
by Patrick Libby 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... Read More
Rated of 5
by Haylee 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.
Rated of 5
by ILOVEBOOKS 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!
Markus Zusak is the author of Fighting Ruben Wolfe, Getting The
Girl, I Am The Messenger and
The Book Thief. He received the
Children's Book Council of Australia's
Book of the Year Award for I Am the
Messenger. He lives in Sydney, where
he "writes, occasionally works a real
job, and plays on a soccer team that
When asked about The Book Thief,
he explains, "I wanted to write
something very different than what I'd
done before. The idea of a book stealer
was in my head when I was writing I
Am The Messenger, but it wasn't
ready to be written. The original idea
was set in the present in Sydney, which
didn't feel quite right. Then I thought
about writing of the things my parents
had seen while growing up in Nazi
Oct. 11th, 1943 - A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...