Markus Zusac’s novel, A Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany at the brink of the second world war. It traces the story of Liesel Meminger and her life on the poor outskirts of Munich. The copy that I own has a very vague and intriguing opening that is:
This is the tale of the book thief,
as narrate by death.
And when death tells you a story,
you really have to listen.
Needless to say, it had me biting on my nails, at least on what is left of them. It is a book that reduces the stone-hearted to tears with its not so kind description of death, during those years. The Book Thief is raw, its real and its believable. It has the Fuhrer, it has hiding Jews, it has a quite a lot of deaths, and of course, thievery. It’s from the heart. It’s pure. It’s painfully angry and it resonates with people at a common level.
It transforms initial childishness to mature decisions smoothly, without disturbing the story. It is a very explicit imagery of the civilian lifestyle in the world war. It creates a very pitiable character of death. “I am haunted by humans.” Its very thrilling closing line. It made me ponder. And considering Liesel’s life, its probably the best statement you can finish a book like this. The most important feature of this book is how the author managed to retain Death’s essence throughout the story. It is felt throughout the story. Its pain at being everywhere at all the time, gently carrying the souls and trying to vindicate the assumption that even death has a heart. It’s everywhere. And finally, I’d just like to clear up, its NOT a political or a boring book, but a normal fictional book.
In all, it is a really heart touching book, which would be a shame to miss. So, grab your copy and enjoy this 580-paged novel, with popcorn and a handkerchief.