Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

It is hard to know what to say about The Book Thief, to be honest.

It is the story of Liesel, a young girl growing up in Nazi Germany, fostered by Hans and Rosa Hubermann. The book deals with matters of the Jews and the Holocaust in a poignant manner.

To start with I struggled with the idea of Death as the narrator, especially his little asides to the audience. I found it more intrusive than anything. However, once the story of Liesel and the many characterful people she encounters begins properly, the book does become gripping. It is quite a slow burn and I do find it more of an annoyance than a literary device that Death gives up some of the future details of the story - I would have preferred to see them revealed as they happened rather than being foreshadowed from page one.

My favourite character is Max, the Jew looked after in the basement by the Hubermanns - it is heart-breaking to realise what he is destined to go through as a Jew in Nazi Germany.

I also love the fact that the power of words is a constant theme, especially because the author uses his own words in such a moving and haunting fashion. The language is compelling and beautiful.

Altogether, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be keeping it for a re-read, but I didn't think it was an instant classic.

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