Written by: Markus Zusak
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction
Pages: 552 (Trade Paperback)
The premise: ganged from BN.com: 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.
Must Have: It's just a beautiful book with some lovely, memorable prose and some metaphors that are really striking if you're taking your time and reading beyond the superficial level. Death as a narrator really pulls the story together, and it's not a gimmick so much as a POV of a world-at-large and way to anchor the story. And frankly, Death as a narrator in a story that takes place in World War II and Nazi Germany makes all the sense in the world. And the story death tells is a beauty, a jewel of its own kind. I won't sit here and say the book is going to change your life, as that really depends on what you're bringing to the text in terms of reading/film background, but I think it's a worthy offering in a historical period that still fascinates and horrifies us, and this book allows us to feel both fascination and horror. It's well worth the read, but only if you're going to take your time and let it soak in.
Review Style: This is a very difficult book to review. There's so many beautiful moments in this book, but I can't spoil them because to do so would lessen their meaning, significance, and impact. So I'll talk about the structure, the choice of narrator, whether or not this book is REALLY "life changing," and stress the importance of metaphor. :) Spoiler-phones, no worries. I'm feeling kind. :) The full review is the link to my LJ below, and as always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)
REVIEW: Markus Zusak's THE BOOK THIEF
Book club selections @ calico_reaction. Hop on over! We'd love to have you!
March: To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
April: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia