Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

It’s 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 Zusak’s 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 can’t 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.


  1. It is hard to believe I'm the first to comment...

    I really enjoyed this book, though it took a while to get past the frenetic style of the writing. The narrator kept jumping around, giving bits here and pieces there; it was like reading the writings of someone with ADHD. But then, if you were Death, that might apply.

    This is the first I have seen of a story about German civilians during WWII. Typical stories are about the concentration camps, American soldiers, and such. I enjoyed reading of what their lives were like, what things were required (ie, Hitler Youth meetings), what things were frowned upon severely, how things changed as the war progressed. I was especially taken with the description of citizens "with Hitler in their eyes." I was also especially taken by Max's story about the Word Shaker, and how words can be used very effectively as weapons.

    The ending was slightly too 'clean' for me, which may sound weird, but killing off your entire cast makes it seem as if Mr Zusak was tired of writing. Still, it was fitting that the two who survived were the "undesirable" jew and the communist's daughter.

    Great choice, Nicole.

  2. I also really enjoyed this book. I had read it previously a few years ago but enjoyed reading it again. I agree it takes awhile to get passed the disjointed narative in the beginning, but definitely an interesting narrative style. The end was rather dramatic and can see why Jason feels like it was too "clean". Overall, a great book.