The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, was probably my favorite book so far this summer, and actually one of the best I’ve ever read. It is a story of a young girl, set in Nazi Germany, and narrated, fittingly enough, by Death himself. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl who has a passion for–stealing books, whether from Nazi book bonfires, the mayor’s house, or anywhere else she can find. She learns to read these books with the person she loves most in the world, her accordian playing Papa. In addition to these books, her life becomes filled with her neighboored friends, the young Rudy who loves her, her swearing Mama, and Max, the Jewish fist-fighter hiding in her basement.
Death is an elloquent narrator, caring, humorous, and scared of people, and he provides memorable details and perspective in this book. Zusak’s writing is almost poem-like sometimes, making the story seem like a dream. The Book Thief appears bulky at first sight, but it reads fast and is hard to put down. And the ending is heartbreaking. My only complaint would be that it got a little longwinded through the middle. But by the end it had made up for that. A fantastic book.
The intro to part one:
the grave digger’s handbook
himmel street – the art of saumensching – an iron fisted woman – a kiss attempt – jesse owens – sandpaper – the smell of friendship – a heavyweight champion – and the mother of all watschens