Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Liesel Meminger, daughter of a communist, Germany, 1939. Travelling on a train, with her brother and
mother, towards Molching. Liesel is heading towards foster parents Rosa and Hans Hubermann in Himmel Street. Her brother is heading towards a frozen grave. Her mother is not entirely relevant to this story.

Liesel Meminger is the book thief. The first book she steals is at the graveside of her brother. She can't read, but that isn't important.

Death is the narrator of her story.

I am struggling to describe this book, for a few reasons. The main reason is that this book has such beautiful descriptions, Markus Zusak's masterful use of words and language renders any attempts I may make, pitiful. I have not yet seen the movie adaptation, and although assured by my aunt that it does indeed do the book justice, I cannot imagine it. Descriptions like "unit blocks that look nervous" and "empty hatstand trees, and grey air."

Just a small tip for you, though. Don't read the ending in a public place.

Category: Fiction

Who'll want to read it? People who love language, people who are interested in Nazi Germany

Point of no return: I had been told to read this book by so many people whose judgement I trust, that it's hard for me to pinpoint a point of no return. I was going to read it anyway. But perhaps it came with the list, on page 6, of what the narrator says the "small story" is about, "amongst other things:

  • a girl
  • some words
  • an accordionist
  • some fanatical Germans
  • a Jewish fist-fighter
  • and quite a lot of thievery."

Classic line: page 38: "She would grin herself stupid, watching the lines drawing themselves down his face, and the soft metal of his eyes - until the swearing arrived from the kitchen."
page 39: "Papa's bread and jam would be half-eaten on his plate, curled into the shape of bite-marks, and the music would look Liesel in the face."

Publisher: Picador (Pan Macmillan Australia)

This book is also available in large print, as an audio book, an e-book, and an e-audiobook.

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

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