Friday, August 12, 2011

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

Barnes & Noble

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....

Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found.

With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel 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.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

If I could give this book more than five stars, I would. Zusak's writing is a work of art and the way he describes the world during WWII is a complex mixture of beauty and ugliness. He plays with the senses. Can you imagine "tasting a sound with your ears?"

The characters are real. They laugh, they cry, they make mistakes.

This book is not for the faint of heart. Set during the reign of Adolph Hilter, this book deals with the cruel reality of war. You learn right off the bat that the narrator is Death -- I really, truly love the way he is written -- so you know that this is not a book full of rainbows and puppies.

It's not quick or light, but totally worth it. 

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