Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Book Thief

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The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2006, 560 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2007, 576 pages

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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 never wins". 

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 Germany and Austria, and when I brought the ideas together, it seemed to work, especially when I thought about the importance of words in that time, and what they were able to make people believe."

In his acknowledgements, Zusak mentions many people but ends with "special thanks to his parents, Lisa and Helmut Zusak - for the stories we find hard to believe, for laughter, and for showing me another side."

September 2007

This article was originally published in March 2006, and has been updated for the September 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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