Published: 1st January 2008
Publisher: Black Swan
Genre: Historical Fiction – YA
Synopsis taken from Amazon:
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak was the best-selling debut literary novel of the year 2007, selling over 400,000 copies. The author is a prize-winning writer of children’s books, and this, his first novel for adults, proved to be a triumphant success. The book is extraordinary on many levels: moving, yet restrained, angry yet balanced — and written with the kind of elegance found all too rarely in fiction these days. The book’s narrator is nothing less than Death itself, regaling us with a remarkable tale of book burnings, treachery and theft. The book never forgets the primary purpose of compelling the reader’s attention, yet which nevertheless is able to impart a cogent message about the importance of words, particularly in those societies which regard the word as dangerous (the book is set during the Nazi regime, but this message is all too relevant in many places in the world today).
Nine-year-old Liesel lives with her foster family on Himmel Street during the dark days of the Third Reich. Her Communist parents have been transported to a concentration camp, and during the funeral for her brother, she manages to steal a macabre book: it is, in fact, a gravediggers’ instruction manual. This is the first of many books which will pass through her hands as the carnage of the Second World War begins to hungrily claim lives. Both Liesel and her fellow inhabitants of Himmel Street will find themselves changed by both words on the printed page and the horrendous events happening around them.
I am quite ashamed to say that I have had this book on my shelf for at least a year, after reading it will stay on my shelf for years to come.
I absolutely loved this book. I was a little apprehensive due to the hype it has received on BookTube, I was not disappointed. This is a truly amazing book about love, tragedy, friendship, power and humanity. A powerful novel, that nearly reduced me to tears on a number of occasions.
Liesl is a fantastic female, child protagonist. She has just the right amount of courage, love, determination, vulnerability and independence. I also loved her fascination and enjoyment from books – what a great touch. I loved all of her relationships with the other characters in the book, seeing these grow and develop over time. Her relationships with Max, Papa and Rudy touched my heart in all kinds of different ways.
The climax towards the end of the novel was devastating, yet powerful. The use of death as a narrator was also one of a kind – eerie, suspenseful and somewhat beautiful. A true triumph and one that I will read again and again and again.
If you haven’t read this novel, then do – it might break your heart, but it is definitely worth it.