It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
The Book Thief is a heart touching story of Nazi Germany written with German perspective and narrated by death.
There is no suspense, no twist, no “damn! I didn’t see that coming” because the death here doesn’t kill you in one swift go but it slowly tortures you. It tells you that when and how the characters die and then take you on a ride to see and feel it for yourself.
It gives you an insight of the war times. The condition of not the politicians or the army or even the Jews but the condition of poor Germans. Lack of food, declining jobs, constant fear of bombings taking place and what happens if there is a Jew hidden in the basement of one of the German houses.
In the first half we hardly see Hitler or his army. But the tension and the slowly growing chaos is still visible.
Character development is great. They are strong and they are vulnerable. They are broken yet together. They make you smile and then make you cry bitterly.
The idea and the execution of the story is brilliant. This book is definitely a book which should be added to your “must read” list.