Another very successful title of the last decade that has been mentioned in more than one top ten list. In fact reading one of these lists recently I realised that this was one of only three titles on such a list that I had not read! Completing this one means that I have now have read and enjoyed all ten titles which were voted as amongst the best of the decade. Lovereading - Books of the Decade
When I looked on Amazon recently there were already 603 reviews published of which 445 are five star ones. There are a handful of reviews from readers that did not like the novel but they are insignificant when a novel is so popular.
Out of the three books that I needed to read to have read all ten recommendations for the decade it is interesting that two of them were both about the Nazi Germany during WWII, a subject I maybe subconsciously steer away from. The other one was The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas similar in that it also has a child as the main protagonist. I only mention it here as I feel if you read one of these you should read both. I obviously made a mistake by avoiding them for so long.
The Book Thief is written in a truly unusual style, in fact I do not think I have ever come across anything else written in a style quite like this before. Short sections that all link together almost like a diary, but the weirdest thing of all for me was the fact that the story is narrated by Death. One needs to accept that a story told by Death is almost certainly going to be a tear jerker which it is but it is also very compassionately told. This is not a book to enjoy as such but it is a story that will make you think, I suspect not for the first time about the awful atrocities that were committed in Nazi Germany during the second World War.
The young protagonist is Liesel who is sent to a foster family for her own safety in 1939 when her parents are sent to a concentration camp. Set in a small German town called Molching it is basically the story of her day to day life on Himmel Street plus the other folk that become her friends and neighbours. Liesel steals books to feed her desire to learn to read and write, hence the title! Work and food are scarce and as the war progresses death is always close in one way or another.
Death's account of Liesels life is thanks to the author full of descriptive imagery which will provide you with strong images of immense cruelty and human misery but also of love and kindness to others.
If you have not already read this, I think I am in the minority in not having done so before now, I recommend you do so. It will stir your emotions but it is for all that an easy quick read. Just make sure you have the tissues ready.
Markus Zusak was born on 23rd of June 1975 in Australia, the youngest of four children and is the son of an Austrian father and a German mother. It is the stories he heard as a child of Nazi Germany and Jews being marched through the town where his mother lived that gave him inspiration to write The Book Thief. He now lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and daughter.
Courtesy of TheGuardian | 01 June 2009
The novelist explains why he decided to use death as his narrator and why he's not keen for his publishers to see the way he works.
You may also be interested in the review at The Books Cafe of The Book Thief.