Thursday, October 1, 2009
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
From the back cover:
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.
Set in the midst of World War II in Germany, this book features the life of Liesel Meminger who was sent to foster parents around age 10. The story is narrated by "death", a reluctant collector of souls, who does not enjoy the job he is given. A bit quirky (yes) but as a member of my book club said, death has no time restrictions and so the book is written in such a way that you get glimpses of the future then you are plunged "headlong" into the story! I found that irritating at times but totally understood the writer's perspective. Leisel as a teenager is a person I hope to be some day. She is brave, loving, tender and kind. She is able to form these loving friendships borne out of heartache, misery and pain and you gotta love and appreciate her character! I enjoyed the "banter" she shares with Rudy, her soul mate and partner in crime. Well Rudy doesn't really enjoy stealing books, he just likes to eat. We are also introduced to Liesel's real mom, brother and her foster parents! As meagre as their existence was, they were able to be a family, opening up their home to a jewish man by the name of Max. Again, Leisel comes forward and shows Max unconditional love. The kind of love that can raise the dead (yes, literally). OK, you need to go and buy this book. It's an entirely different perspective on the war and holocaust. Enough said........great read!